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NORTHFIELD CENTER -- Fiscal Officer Andy LaGuardia says a mistake he made means he and township trustees are getting a past-due pay increase. The back pay adds up to $44,000, LaGuardia told trustees in a Feb. 6 letter.
LaGuardia told the News Leader March 8 that after township voters approved a police levy in 2014, he failed to realize the township met criteria for a higher pay rate for trustees and himself by being over a $6 million budget threshold set by state law.
Under the Ohio Revised Code, township elected officials' salaries are based on the township's annual budget, LaGuardia said, adding the code sets several brackets for compensation.
"I was looking at the figures for the salary amounts for this year," he said. "I noticed the next bracket was $6 million to $10 million and we were at $6.5 million."
In addition to a pay increase going forward, each Trustee will be receiving about a $4,000 in back pay per year of service, including former Trustee Brent Sommer, who is owed $7,304. John Romanik, who was appointed in Jan. 11, 2016, is owed $4,014, while Trustee Rich Reville is owed $11,318 for his service from 2014 to 2016. Trustee Paul Buescher is owed $11,936 for 2014 to 2016 and LaGuardia is owed $9,558 for 2014 to 2016.
Buescher said the news of the pay discrepancy came as a surprise.
"We're not in it for the money," he told the News Leader. "If we were in it for the money, we would have found out about it sooner. It caught everyone by surprise."
LaGuardia said trustees were paid just under $13,000 last year but salaries should have been just under $17,000. This year, Tustees salaries will be $17,638 due to a 5 percent pay increase set by state law.
Similarly, since LaGuardia was making just over $22,000 but should have been earning $25,000 annually.
"Ultimately, I think the reason why it happened was the levy for the police; when that passed it pushed us over the threshold," he said. "I never really realized the $6 million point was an increase."
LaGuardia, who took office in 2013, said that in years past the township budget was in the $3.5 million to $6 million bracket.
In his letter to trustees, LaGuardia said he spoke with Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor John Galonski, who told him the township officials are due their correct salary and "an oversight is not an intentional act."
Galonski also told LaGuardia everyone should receive the back pay in one lump sum, according to the letter.
Briana Barker: 330-541-9433