April 20, 2014

Elyria
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Lorain County employee salaries

ELYRIA — Lorain County General Health District Ken Pearce was surprised to learn he was the county’s top earner in 2011.

Pearce, who earned $139,681.73 last year according to records provided by county Auditor Mark Stewart’s office, said he hasn’t received a raise since 2010, so he was surprised to learn his salary had jumped by about $3,000. In 2010, Pearce earned $136,787.56.

But Pearce said the reason his salary increased so much was because his last raise didn’t come until around the middle of 2010, so it wasn’t fully incorporated into his 2010 salary.

Pearce, who pointed out that his latest five-year contract doesn’t include any additional raises, said he certainly wasn’t aiming to be the county’s highest-compensated employee.

“That’s not something you really want,” he said.

But Pearce also pointed out that he has a master’s degree in public health administration and a lengthy career behind him.

“I suppose being at it as long as I have is part of it,” he said.

The county’s second highest-paid employee last year, the records showed, was county Engineer Ken Carney, who earned $99,510.80 for the job he was elected to do. He also was paid $32,716.61 for his work as the county’s sanitary engineer. In total, he earned $132,227.41 in 2011.

Carney had a gross income of $132,954.77 in 2010.

Carney, who is unopposed in his re-election bid this year, said he’s been doing both jobs effectively since 1999. He also pointed out that his situation isn’t unique. He estimated that perhaps a third of all county engineers serve a dual role as sanitary engineer in addition to their elected duties.

Typically the county’s list of top 10 earners include a few retirees who cashed out accumulated sick and vacation time when they left work and 2011 was no exception.

The county’s fourth and fifth highest earners, Susan Nowlin and Jeannie Weisbrod, both retired from Lorain County Children Services, according to Stewart’s office.

In addition to her salary of $50,846.20, Nowlin also received a $74,931.69 payout for unused time off. Her total compensation in 2011 was $125,777.89.

Weisbrod had a salary of $49,067.20 that — coupled with a $75,934.32 payout — gave her a gross income of $125.001.52.

A third retiree, Robert Tumusko, who left the county Sheriff’s Office last year, was paid a salary of $68,583.24 in addition to a payout of $53,627.68. His total pay of $122,210.92, made him the county’s sixth highest paid employee.

Coming in seventh place among the county’s top earners was county Administrator Jim Cordes, who earned a salary of $117,603.20, the same amount he earned in 2010.

County Mental Health Director Charlie Neff earned $116,621.34 in 2011, making him the seventh highest paid employee, while Amber Fisher, director of the county’s Board of Developmental Disabilities, earned $116,530.73. Fisher was the county’s ninth highest paid employee last year.

Rounding out the list of top 10 earners is county Prosecutor Dennis Will, who had a gross income of $115,703 from the county last year.

Cordes, Neff, Fisher and Will wouldn’t have even made the list if the county’s 10 common pleas judges had been included.

Although each judge has an annual salary of $121,350, the county pays only $14,000 of that figure. The rest is paid by the Ohio Supreme Court.

County Probate Judge James Walther, who serves as the county’s presiding judge, said he’s been on the bench since 2009 and his salary hasn’t changed in that time.

He said the salaries are set by state law.

Lorain County top 10 highest paid employees in 2011

  1. Kenneth Pearce — $139,681.73
  2. Ken Carney — $132,227.41
  3. Gary Crow — $129,611.42
  4. Susan Nowlin — $125,777.89
  5. Jeannie Weisbrod — $125,001.52
  6. Robert Tomusko — $122,210.92
  7. Jim Cordes — $117,603.20
  8. Charlie Neff — $116,621.34
  9. Amber Fisher — $116,530.73
  10. Dennis Will — $115,703

Note: The 10 judges of the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas have been excluded from this list because the county paid only $14,000 of their $121,350 annual salaries in 2010. The remaining $107,350 of their salaries was paid for by the Ohio Supreme Court.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.


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