ELYRIA — For the second year in a row, Ken Pearce was the top earner in Lorain County government.
Pearce, who retired as commissioner of the Lorain County General Health District in August, took home $153,954.07 in 2012, according to records provided by county Auditor Craig Snodgrass’ office. In 2011, Pearce earned $139,681.73.
Pearce’s larger payout was not the result of a pay raise but rather because he received a payoff of $45,458.20 for unused vacation and sick days and other pays when he left the district. He received salary, longevity and other payments totaling $108,495.87 as his regular compensation before he retired.
Pearce declined to comment on his earnings.
His successor as health commissioner, Dave Covell, will earn $115,000 per year under a five-year contract signed earlier this month.
The second-highest-paid county employee in 2012 was county Engineer Ken Carney, who earned a total of $131,925.61. His salary as the elected engineer was $99,209, but he also earned $32,716.61 as the county’s sanitary engineer.
Lorain County Children Services Executive Director Gary Crow was third on the list with a salary of $128,356.80 last year.
The county’s 10 elected judges would each make the list in fourth place with salaries of $121,350, but only $14,000 of that is paid by the county, Presiding Judge James Walther said. The remaining $107,350 of the judge’s salaries is paid by the Ohio Supreme Court.
Not counting the judges, Mental Health Director Charlie Neff finished in fourth place, having earned $120,351.11, up from the $116,621.34 he earned in 2011.
County Administrator Jim Cordes was the fifth-highest-paid county employee with a salary of $117,603.20, the same amount he earned the previous year.
Amber Fisher, superintendent of Lorain County Board of Developmental Disabilities, earned $117,429.86, putting her in sixth place.
County Coroner Stephen Evans and county Prosecutor Dennis Will were listed in the county records as the seventh and eighth top earners, although they both received salaries of $115,703.
Coming in ninth place was county Sheriff’s Capt. Jack Hammond, who retired as a lieutenant at the end of 2011 before returning to work in early 2012 as a captain.
Hammond received $78,426.40 in salary and longevity pay, but he also received a $35,880 payout for unused sick time when he retired for total compensation of $114,306.40 in 2012.
Hammond said he had originally planned to simply retire, but Sheriff Phil Stammitti asked him to return to the job with a promotion and to continue overseeing the county jail.
In an email Friday, Stammitti described the decision to keep Hammond on as a cost-saving measure. Hammond is the lowest-paid captain at the sheriff’s office, earning $36 per hour. Capt. Jim Drozdowski, Stammitti wrote, earns $40.60 per hour.
Keeping Hammond also allowed him to hang on to an experienced officer’s knowledge and skills, the sheriff wrote.
Rounding out the list in 10th place is Mary Lou Golski, director of Lorain County Job and Family Services. She earned $114,192 in 2012.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Complete listing of employee earnings