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TMCNet:  Butler County Veteran Services executive director salary tops many others [Journal-News, Hamilton, Ohio]

[December 08, 2013]

Butler County Veteran Services executive director salary tops many others [Journal-News, Hamilton, Ohio]

(Hamilton Journal News (OH) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Dec. 08--HAMILTON -- Butler County Veterans Services Executive Director Curt McPherson makes more money than a dozen other county managers and office holders who supervise more employees and oversee bigger operating budgets, a Journal-News analysis of county salaries and job responsibilities shows.

McPherson's $91,420 annual salary and his leadership style have come under fire in recent months by two board members of the Veteran Service Commission and some county veterans. The Butler County Veterans Service Commission spent more money in 2012 paying its director, assistant director and five appointed commissioners than providing direct financial aid to veterans, an investigation by this newspaper found.

As recently as a week ago, Commissioners Dan Biondo and Bob Perry tried to cut McPherson's pay by $15,000, after an attempt to fire him over his job performance failed to get support from the other three board members -- Tom Stamper, Lowell Stewart and Ken Smith.

This newspaper did a survey of salaries, job duties and number of employees supervised for all county office holders and top managers and found that McPherson's salary is higher than some who supervised bigger staffs, larger budgets and have more tenure with the county.

For example, McPherson, who manages a 9-person office with a $1.3 million budget, makes $7,835 more than Charles Demidovich, who runs the 129-employee Butler County Care Center and its $7.5 million budget. He also earns five times more than Michael Weisbrod, who is in charge of the county public defender office. McPherson, who has been with the Veterans Service Commission for 10 years, makes double what longtime Area Court Administrator Linda Lovelace earns, and she manages 33 people and a $1 million budget. Lovelace was making $80,000 a year before she retired and was rehired in 2012.

Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones, who commands 352 employees and a $30 million budget, earns just $3,270 more than McPherson. However, County Administrator Charlie Young said all office holder's salaries are set by state statute, based on the county's size.

The Butler County Veteran Service Commission has sole discretion over McPherson's salary. He started out at $61,001, received a $10,165 pay bump in 2006 and another $7,846 the next year. Perry said McPherson convinced the commissioners he should get a 5 percent increase when he took over as executive director, because he wanted to be trained as a service officer, so he could understand what his employees did.

"It just got forgotten by the commissioners that part of his pay was an incentive to become a service officer," Perry said. "His pay should not be that high simply because he worked himself into an early on five percent. And it's been compounding ever since." Perry has also accused McPherson of lying to the county commissioners by saying the Veteran Service commissioners require him to accept annual pay raises.

McPherson, who proposed raises for his employees in the 2014 budget but not himself, defended his salary.

"I don't set my salary. I started at a time when they were doing, you get a raise on your anniversary date and then they do the across-the-board raises. I fell into that and that's what the commissioners did," McPherson said. "The salary the commissioners gave to me, I didn't just make up a form and say sign this." Young, who manages 650 people and oversees an $84 million budget, earns the highest salary in the county at $125,000. He said he couldn't comment on McPherson's salary but said management salaries should be based on the number of employees, the type of employees and the budget size.

"There are a couple things that drive what a salary should be. The number of employees, but it's a big difference of what level that employee functions at," he said. "I don't want to be mean to fast food workers, but are you overseeing 100 fast food workers or are you overseeing 100 engineers, or 100 lawyers? There's a huge difference." The salary range in the veterans office range from Assistant Director Anna O'Neill at $58,656 to a low of $30,449.

___ (c)2013 the Journal-News (Hamilton, Ohio) Visit the Journal-News (Hamilton, Ohio) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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