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January 8, 2013

Your Tax Money: Salary board gives county employees raises

(Continued)

NEW CASTLE — PUBLIC SAFETY

Readjusting the salary structure of the 12 full-time and six part-time communications dispatchers and the four full-time supervisors. The amount would not exceed the 3 percent allocated for raises this year, Brian Melcer, public safety director, said. The vote was 4-0.

PUBLIC DEFENDER

Creating two full-time court-related specialists and abolishing two part-time positions of paralegal and secretary. The vote was 3-1 with Vogler opposed to both moves. Craig, Gettings and Del Signore voted yes.

“Every time they give the DA a new attorney, my client numbers grow exponentially,” public defender Larry Keith explained. The total salary increases for both positions amounts to $11,000, Keith said. The substantial increase is in the benefits, because of the union rates, he said.

“My office doesn’t generate money, but I save the county money by the efficient running of my office,” he said, noting the judge has commended him for a quick and smooth movement of the trial lists.

“I don’t believe I will be able to keep up the success of 2012 unless I have my support staff in place,” he said.

Craig asked how many death penalty cases are coming up in the courts this year, and Keith responded there are four for certain, possibly five. He and assistant public defender Dennis Elisco are both certified to defend death penalty cases, which saves the county from having to hire someone from outside.

“We’ve put a budget together for this calendar year, and we don’t have a machine that prints money in this building,” Vogler told him, noting the money the county receives is from the taxpayers.

“Until we see more growth, revenues will stay fairly flat,” he said, adding he would not support the change in the positions.

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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