MIFFLINTOWN - The Juniata County Salary Board approved a new hourly rate for casual sheriffs deputies on Tuesday.
The salary board voted in favor of establishing a starting hourly rate for the part-time casual deputy sheriffs of $12 an hour with a 2.25 percent increase each year until 2017. This also means any casual sheriff currently making less than $12 will be brought up to the new starting hourly rate. Voting in favor of the new rate were Sheriff Tom Lyter, Treasurer Sandra King and Commissioner Teresa O'Neal, while Commissioners Jeffrey Zimmerman and Bob Reynolds were opposed.
A previous motion brought forth by the board which would have had a starting salary for the casual sheriffs deputies of $11 was rejected in a three to two vote, with Zimmerman and Reynolds voting in favor of the motion.
During the course of the salary board meeting, Lyter said the casual deputies do exactly the same work as the other deputies, but they are not in a union and they do not receive any benefits.
Lyter also said that if the salaries of the casual deputies were not increased, some of them would most likely consider leaving their respective positions. Lyter said the casual deputies who work for the county have previous law enforcement experience, either with the Pennsylvania State Police or a municipal police department, and they are difficult to replace.
At one point prior to voting, O'Neal and Reynolds had a brief exchange, whereby O'Neal said she felt there were some things being done behind "closed doors" which merited a more open public discussion.
Prior to the salary board meeting, the commissioners held their weekly board meeting and discussed the Juniata County Solid Waste Management Program, which may be led by the conservation district in the future. No action has been taken at this time, but the commissioners said they will continue discussions with the various parties involved.
A brief executive session was held to discuss a personnel matter and one item on the agenda was tabled. The tabled item was listed as a collective bargaining agreement with the Service Employees International Union Local 668 for the contract term of Jan. 1, 2013, to Dec. 31, 2016.
During the commissioners meeting the following items were approved:
A proclamation for Record Your Veteran's Discharge month in November.
The 2012-2013 Human Services Plan as submitted by Allison Fisher, Mifflin-Juniata Human Services Director.
Certification of Equitable Compensation for Juniata County Juvenile Probation personnel as submitted by Michelle Beacher, Chief Probation Officer.
The JNET Criminal History Access Agreement as submitted by Michelle Beaver, Chief Probation Officer.
Ratified Juniata County Hazardous Materials check, Weavertown Environmental Group, $7,700.
The Juniata County Commissioners meet at 10 a.m. each Tuesday at the Bousum Building in Mifflintown.