The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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March 5, 2014

Auditors ask Presley’s appeal be dismissed

SOUTH PYMATUNING TOWNSHIP — South Pymatuning Township Board of Auditors is trying to head off a March 25 hearing on the validity of the auditors cutting the pay of working Supervisor Mark Presley.

The auditors said in preliminary objections filed Monday that Presley and Auditor Laurel Alexander incorrectly initiated the action.

Presley and Alexander on Feb. 6 filed an appeal of the Jan. 7 decision to reduce Presley’s pay from $20.78 an hour to $17.02, and to scale back his holidays, personal days, sick days and clothing allowance.

A hearing was set before Mercer County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas R. Dobson.

While a supervisor, Presley also is a township road crew worker, a job he has done for 22 years.

The auditors argue Presley and Alexander needed to have filed a lawsuit as state law “does not provide for an appeal of a decision by a board of auditors setting the wages of a township supervisor.”

“Absent a complaint, (the auditors) have not been put on notice as to the nature of petitioner’s cause of action,” the auditors said. “Instead, petitioners merely recite a number of factual allegations and request relief from this court.”

The auditors are seeking to argue their case before Dobson.

As of Tuesday, the March 25 appeal hearing remained on the schedule.

Auditors Dennis Sump and Thomas Lyons voted to reduce Presley’s pay and benefits, saying they wanted to bring the compensation in line with what working supervisors in other nearby townships receive.

Presley and Alexander allege the new compensation level was set “to settle political and/or personal scores between members of the board of auditors and Presley,” and argued Sump, a former supervisor, should have recused himself because of a “long personal history” with Presley.

Sump denied that he was settling any scores or that he had any animosity against Presley.

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