The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

March 26, 2014

Presley, auditors strike deal over pay

SOUTH PYMATUNING TOWNSHIP — In an unusual outcome for anything dealing with South Pymatuning Township government, the parties in dispute over Mark Presley’s pay walked away from a court hearing Tuesday both saying things worked out for the best.

Presley, a township supervisor who worked for the township for 22 years, will stay retired as a township road worker, but will get about two months’ severance pay based on what he thought he should have gotten, not the rate set by the township’s board of auditors.

The Second Class Township Code tasks the board of auditors with setting working supervisors’ pay, and says that the pay shall be comparable to what is paid in the municipality for “similar services.”

At their January meeting, auditors Thomas Lyons and Dennis Sump lowered Presley’s pay from $20.78 an hour to $17.02, and eliminated his clothing allowance and personal days and cut his vacation and sick time.

Auditor Laurel Alexander voted against the action.

Presley and Alexander appealed the decision to Mercer County Common Pleas Court, arguing Sump should have recused himself from the vote because he has a “long personal history” with Presley that prevented him from voting “impartially,” and that Presley’s compensation was set “to settle political and/or personal scores between members of the board of auditors and Presley.”

Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas R. Dobson said Tuesday he was ready to take testimony when the attorneys asked to confer and they worked out a settlement.

The deal reinstates Presley to the pay rate “as he were any other employee,” said his attorney, Brett Stedman, meaning his pay was set at $21.40 and his clothing allowance and off days were restored.

However, Presley will remain retired and will reject any offers from the township to return to work, Stedman said.

Presley also will be paid a severance of whatever he would have been paid if he had continued working from the day of his retirement – the exact date was not known, but it occurred in January – through Tuesday.

Presley said he was “forced” to retire due to the auditors’ decision, because the lower wage would have reduced his pension benefits, which are based on an average of the last five years of his salary.

Stedman said he was not sure if the decision would impact Presley’s pension benefits, but he instructed Presley to report if to the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System.

“I’m glad things went the right way for me,” Presley said, adding that things also went right for the township, its residents and the people of Mercer County.

“Justice was served,” he said, thanking township residents.

“Obviously, we think the decision was fair,” Stedman said.

Lyons said he and Sump agreed to strike a deal to save the cost of fighting in court.

“It was in the best interest of the township,” he said.

“It reached the point where the amount of money we were talking about wasn’t worth it,” Steele said.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Better security Grant available to boost security in district courts

    County officials are looking to quickly upgrade security systems in the five district judge offices, not due to an increase in risk, but because current systems are antiquated and there is a short window to apply for some financial help with the costs.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Officials split over selling older monitors

    What to do with a pile of older LCD computer monitors, keyboards and mice remains up in the air until the third, and often absent, county commissioner makes a decision.

    July 24, 2014

  • Police anxious to talk with victim

    Sharon police want to talk to a West Hill man about several other men who came to his house shortly before he was shot and critically wounded Tuesday.

    July 24, 2014

  • AED presentation Heart-friendly pool

    The Lackawannock-Shenango-West Middlesex Pool has some pretty obvious changes from when it was opened almost 46 years ago.

    July 24, 2014 4 Photos

  • Sharon man 'stable' after being shot in his West Hill home

    A Sharon man was in stable condition this morning after being shot by one of several men he had let into his West Hill home, police said.

    July 23, 2014

  • GJR killer not eligible for parole, court rules

    State Superior Court on Tuesday reversed a local judge’s decision that the sentence for one of two men who killed a night supervisor at George Junior Republic, Pine Township, was unconstitutional.

    July 23, 2014

  • Duplicated files, former worker confesses

    A Mercer woman accused of stealing customer lists, billing information and other data from her former employer headed off trial Monday by pleading guilty to a charge of unlawful duplication.

    July 23, 2014

  • Starved house Vandals vent their emotions

    Vandals kept police busy Sunday and Monday nights at a home in Greenville where the Mercer County District Attorney’s office said a boy was starved and beaten by his mom.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Couple, another man charged in thefts

    Pennsylvania State Police have filed charges of burglary, theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief against an East Palestine, Ohio, couple and another man in connection with two robberies in rural Mercer County.

    July 22, 2014

  • Taking stock Where’s the beef? Bull’s still missing

    Is it possible that an alien abduction took place in the Mercer area last week? A solid red, 2-year-old Watusi bull with 3-foot-long horns has been missing since July 14 with no trace of its existence left on earth.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Buhl Day honorees

    The Buhl Day committee has chosen for this year’s celebration five honored guests whose volunteer work they feel best showcases the legacy of philanthropic work left behind by Frank and Julia Buhl a century ago.

    July 22, 2014

  • GC pair not hurt in accident injuring 2

    Two drivers were taken to a hospital after an accident at the intersection of state routes 965 and 173 in Worth Township, police said.

    July 21, 2014

  • WaterFire crowds WaterFire doused

    Sharon’s WaterFire wasn’t lacking either of its elements on Saturday. There was steady, day-long rain but the day concluded with the Shenango River ablaze.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • ‘Starved’ boy released from hospital

    A 7-year-old boy allegedly starved and beaten by his mother is out of the hospital and ordered out of his Greenville home by Mercer County Common Pleas President Judge Thomas R. Dobson.

    July 20, 2014

  • WaterFire walking tour Time traveling

    A group of more 50 people walked between the raindrops Saturday during an historical tour of downtown Sharon during the city’s WaterFire celebration.

    July 20, 2014 6 Photos 1 Story