Some Lawrence County court employees will receive additional raises this year.

The salary board Wednesday unanimously agreed to grant raises of $2,500 to eight judicial secretaries and courtroom assistants, in addition to the 4.1 percent cost-of-living increase granted to all other courthouse management and non-union personnel.

Those receiving the increase are: Mary Dombeck, Diane Maiorano, Dianna Esposito and Joan Ritzert, judicial secretaries; and Susan Langford, Elizabeth Compelio, Maria Piccione and Elaine Presnar, courtroom assistants.

In addition, the board increased the starting salary for those positions to $20,500, from $18,000, a 13.88 percent hike.

The board also granted the additional $2,500 raise to Mary Kelly, confidential secretary. Her title was changed from judicial secretary and the base salary for that position also was boosted from $18,000 to $20,500.

All those adjustments were made at the request of President Judge Dominick Motto, who has a vote on the board.

Also voting yes were county Commissioners Dan Vogler, Steve Craig and Ed Fosnaught, and Controller Mary Ann Reiter.

The positions are all non-union, and the employees have not been able to negotiate wage increases, Motto explained, noting their pay is lower than the pay of similar union positions.

“This is a partial catch-up,” he said, and the courts have money in the budget to support the raises.

Court administrator Michael Occhibone said the money was moved from various line items in the court budget so the county would not have to take money from elsewhere in the general fund.

“These people have assumed additional duties over the years to help save money for the county,” Occhibone pointed out.

He added Motto has reduced his court contingency fund from $70,000 to $30,000 and has purchased different items from his supervision fee fund to offset costs.

“Anything that’s not affecting the commissioners contingency fund, I believe I can support,” Reiter commented.

Vogler commended Motto for keeping expenses down. Motto promised to be a frugal president judge, he said, “and he has been a man of his word.”

Other changes in court-related offices are:

•Unanimously agreed to eliminate a part-time jury commissioner position at $13,000, and create a full-time secretary II position at an annual salary of $22,000 plus benefits. Renee Yeropoli will move into that post from the part-time slot. The board defeated a counter-proposal from Motto to pay the new position $26,000.

•Raised the salary of Patrick Micco, chief juvenile probation officer, from $47,143 to $48,800, a 3.5 percent increase. Motto cited parity, in addition to “the competency of the person doing the job.” The vote was 4-0 because Reiter had left the meeting.

•Reclassified the juvenile probation office positions of Lisa Boots, placement/aftercare officer, and Shelley Foltz, probation diversion officer, to probation officer II positions with a pay increases of $866. The two positions are included in the Construction and General Laborers Union Local 964 bargaining unit, and that is the standard labor contract raise. Two probation officer I positions were eliminated. The vote was 4-0.

•Granted Larry Troggio, domestic relations director, an increase from $43,535 to $45,000, a 3.36 percent hike. “It’s a very difficult office to run,” Motto said, “and there is a lot of emotion from people who go through that office.” He noted the new rate brings the position more into parity with other department head posts.

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