723 county workers earn $100K+ per year
Number represents 17% of all county workers
BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A growing number of Erie County workers are earning $100,000 or more each year.
Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw now reports, the county worker's average fringe benefits now amount to 67-percent of their base salary.
"When you look at the big picture, when it comes to personnel and benefits, Erie County is trying to sustain an unsustainable model. We can't afford this anymore, period," Mychajliw said.
The county comptroller has examined the county's payroll records for all 4,200 full-time workers and found 723 workers receive $100,000 or more a year in salary, overtime, and benefits.
More than 200 workers racked up overtime amounting to almost half their salaries. In the sheriff's office, one deputy made enough overtime to nearly triple his salary, and another came close to that mark.
But Undersheriff Mark Wipperman points out minimum staffing in the county's jails is mandated by law or the courts.
"Year after year, we've asked for manpower in our budgets. We were always denied. There was an appetite, in this county, to accomplish the mission by using overtime. That is what led to these numbers," said Wipperman.
Peter Anderson is spokesman for County Executive Mark Poloncarz. He says the county is making progress bringing down benefit costs at the county's jails.
"For the first time in eight years those units will be paying a portion of their health care costs - not only while they are working, but in retirement as well - which is something very different, I think, than what most people are used to hearing and seeing from county employees," Anderson said.
The unions say they seem to be getting all the blame for the county's budget problems.
"(They are out on the job, no matter what the weather is. Many times we are just the brunt of everyone's complaints," said CSEA Executive Vice President Denise Szymura.
Mychajliw points out that Erie County is facing a substantial budget shortfall in the coming years and there have been rumblings of raising property taxes. He says the county should be looking to save on personnel costs rather than hitting up taxpayers.
County unions have been without a contract since 2006 and many county workers don't even pay into their health plans. Officials think now might be the time to change the game.Source: WIVBAl VaughtersMonday, 11 Mar 2013 Click here to view the article