The governor’s pay hike will have a county impact

The governor’s pay hike will have a county impact

A recent news article noted that salaries for Pennsylvania’s legislators, judges and executive branch officials will increase next year.  There was no vote by the General Assembly—rather, the increases occur automatically thanks to legislation passed in 1995

The governor’s salary is to increase to “almost $202,000.”  We’ll assume it will be exactly $202,000 for purposes of this blog.

A 2016 ordinance sets the salary of the Allegheny County chief executive at “sixty-eight percent (68%) of the salary of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for calendar year 2020.”  That will increase the chief executive’s pay from the $90,000 established in the Home Rule Charter—a pay level that was never increased even though County Council was permitted to raise it annually—to $137,360 (a 53 percent increase). 

The ordinance—and two others to increase council’s expenses and meeting stipend amount by 5 percent once every five years—followed a recommendation by the 2015 Allegheny County Government Review Commission.  Since pay for elected officials cannot increase during the current term of office the ordinances will take effect Jan.1, 2020.

In 2021, and every year thereafter, an increase in the chief executive’s salary will be based on the consumer price index for the Pittsburgh area.  However, the change in salary cannot exceed the cumulative average increase for salaries of county employees in collective bargaining units in that given year.

All three increases are retroactive in nature, boosting compensation next year as though there were periodic increases approved under the charter’s guidelines.  Future increases for these Allegheny County officials will be automatic, much like the current arrangement for state salaries. There ought to be occasional votes taken at council meetings to increase officials’ pay.