Experts Worry Stagnant Wages Are Delaying Economic Recovery

Editor’s note:  Came across this article right after I posted about grocery store price increases. They certainly speak to each other.

Jim Talerico got a $900 raise this year, but he isn’t happy about it.

“It’s a terrible wage,” said Talerico, a part-time faculty member in Robert Morris University’s English department. “Now I’m making a whopping $14,400.”

It was the first pay raise in 10 years for the 54-year-old Ingomar resident. Even with the $13,500 he earns from his other part-time teaching job at Community College of Allegheny County, he said a barista job at Starbucks looks tempting. At least it would come with benefits.

Working Americans have had to make difficult choices — from canceling doctor’s appointments to cutting their grocery budgets — as their paychecks barely keep up with the cost of living.

Consumer spending drives 70 percent of economic activity, and wage stagnation has been a stubborn problem that might be holding back the recovery as other measures such as unemployment improve.

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Mayor Holds Line On Taxes, Raises His Own Salary In Proposed Budget

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WILKES-BARRE, PA – Mayor Tom Leighton proposed a $42.7 million 2014 budget Friday without any tax or fee hikes, a raise for himself and funding to hire additional police officers.

“My goal is to hire at least 10 new officers in 2014, but we will closely monitor the strength of city finances to hire as many officers as the general fund can afford,” Leighton said during his budget presentation at city hall.

Unionized city employees will receive a 3 percent raise. Leighton’s salary also will increase 3 percent for 2014 to $82,309.

Leighton, who is serving in his third term as mayor, said he has not taken a raise for the last seven years amid financial woes

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Pottstown Chooses Sparagana As New Schools Chief

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

POTTSTOWN, PA — The school district’s acting superintendent became its official superintendent Thursday night when the school board unanimously approved a three-year contract for Jeff Sparagana worth more than $173,000 a year.

The vote came almost three months to the day after Reed Lindley abruptly resigned as Pottstown Superintendent.

In a vote that appeared nowhere on the night’s school board agenda, Sparagana was provided with a contract that ends on June 30, 2016.

His term begins immediately.   Sparagana’s “aggregate annual salary” will be $173,624, according to the terms of the contract, explained after the vote by School District Solicitor Stephen Kalis.

Pottstown To Offer $110K To $130K For Manager’s Post

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County

Location of Pottstown in Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  For the proposed salary level, a national search had better be conducted!  There are rumors flying around that Pottstown Borough Council has already decided to give the manager position to a current borough employee.  If a wise decision is not made, Pottstown will suffer greatly!

POTTSTOWN — Borough council will decide formally Monday whether to offer a salary range of between $110,000 and $130,00 a year for a new borough manager.

It surfaced during Wednesday’s work session when council heard a presentation from David L. Woglom, former QuakertownBorough Manager and now the associate director for public service at the at Lafayette College.

The Meyner Center was hired by borough council to perform a search for a new borough manager after Jason Bobst submitted his resignation in May after getting a job as West Norriton’s township manager, a post Bobst has already taken up.

Last month council appointed Pottstown Police Chief Mark Flanders as interim borough manager.

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Councilor Rhoads Explains Why He Could Not Approve Salary Increases For Pottstown Borough Manager and Chief Of Police

Pottstown’s Sixth Ward Councilor and “man of the people” cast the only NO vote at tonight’s Pottstown Borough Council meeting for raises for the Borough Manager and Chief of Police.

Here are Councilor Rhoads’ reasons for his NO vote:

For those who continue to say how rosy things are, look at the real picture and talk to the person who:

Just lost his job

Can’t find work

Had his pay cut

Is on a fixed income

Cannot pay his bills

Lost his house to Sheriff Sale

Lost his health insurance

Is in financial trouble due to severe health issues

Is just plain struggling

I have talked to many people with these situations.

The house across the street from me is empty because the person just up and left it. 

A house two blocks away on Queen Street is empty because the family abandoned it.

Some neighbors behind me recently walked away from their house.

A house a block away on South Roland Street just sold at Sheriff Sale.

A house just a few doors away is going to be empty due to Sheriff Sale.

A house three doors away has been for sale for almost a year.

Wednesday’s Mercury lists at least five more Sheriff Sales in the Sixth Ward alone.

Need I say anymore?

With all these issues, I cannot vote for this and the following item on the agenda.

Pottstown Council Approves Raises For Borough Manager And Police Chief

Two agenda items on this evening’s Pottstown Borough Council meeting were the approval of contract addendums for Jason Bobst, Borough Manager and Mark Flanders, Pottstown Chief of Police.

Basically the contact addendums are raises.  Council was asked to approve a three percent increase for both gentlemen.

Councilor Rhoads read from a prepared statement on why he would vote no in both of these instances. (I will make this statement available in another post).  There was no other discussion.

A roll call vote was taken with Councilor Rhoads casting the only NO vote.  Mr. Bobst’s salary was increased to $96,820.00 for the 2011 calendar year.  Mr. Bobst’s benefits include a vehicle for business use and his dues for the ICMA ($800).  Mr. Bobst was exempted from the borough residency requirement but must live within 15 miles of Pottstown.  He currently resides in Douglassville.

Mr. Flanders’ salary was increased to $100,425.00 for the 2011 calendar year.