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YNN: Report reviews county's '$100,000 club'

Report reviews county's '$100,000 club'

Nearly 20 percent of Erie County employees are now part of a unique club, according to a 2012 payroll review by the County Comptroller's Office. YNN's Meg Rossman has more on what's being called the $100,000 club and why county officials say it's been an ongoing issue.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — There's a new club in town and according to Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw, there's a $100,000 entry fee.

"We found that 723 full-time employees or roughly 20% of the Erie County workforce, cost taxpayers $100,000 or more to fund that one specific salary,” Mychajliw said. “We saw that overtime was very significant."

It's all detailed in a report Mychajliw presented to the legislature Monday to help bridge the county's $25.4 million budget gap over the next four years.

But according to the Erie County Executive’s office, it's nothing new.

"It's not really new news, that with fringe benefits and salaries added together, there are a lot of employees in the $100,000 club as the comptroller chooses to call it," press secretary Peter Anderson said.

According to the report, jail management tops the list with more than 300 employees, followed by the Sheriff's Office.

"I'm not surprised given the manpower crisis the Sheriff's Office has had the last 10-15 years,” Undersheriff Mark Wipperman said.

Anderson said it was an issue raised in the 2013 budget; calling fringe benefits the county's largest cost leader in 2013 at around 67 percent. He said Mychajliw's numbers are misleading.

"Employees who are actually over $100,000 on salary, wages, overtime alone; not counting fringe benefits, that number is only 106 employees," Anderson explained.

Both agree the current system is unsustainable, but cutting down on fringe benefits would require some serious negotiations with local unions.

"We need to make some really tough decisions before we start cutting personnel, and as a last resort, raise property taxes," Mychajliw noted.

As far as overtime costs go with jail management however, those are expected to drop over the next few years with 72 additional deputies set to be hired by 2015.

Source: YNN