Sunday, June 1, 2008

Montgomery County Hires Finance Chief, Solicitor

Commissioner Bruce Castor opposes salary, part-time post.
By Riley Yates | Of The Morning Call
May 30, 2008

Montgomery County on Thursday hired a finance chief and gave a retiring solicitor a part-time job that will pay $50,000 a year, despite the protests of one commissioner.

Randall Schaible, the county's first deputy controller, was chosen chief financial officer -- a position that will bring a salary of $115,000, far higher than was paid the finance director who retired earlier this year.

And retiring deputy solicitor Bruce Eckel was rehired part-time for $50,000 a year. He was paid $108,750 in his previous full-time job.

Both moves were opposed by Republican Commissioner Bruce Castor, who questioned the cost of keeping Eckel and said he wasn't convinced Schaible should get more than the $90,000-a-year salary of former longtime Finance Director Jon Ganser.

''For $25,000 more, I want to know what the taxpayers are getting,'' Castor said.
(Click on link below to view whole article)

The vote for the two hires was 3-1, with county Controller Diane Morgan joining commissioners James Matthews and Joseph Hoeffel in support.

The proponents said the two hires are worthwhile, experienced and in touch with the county: Eckel has been there for 30 years, while Schaible has served 14 years.

There is money in the budget for the solicitor's office to hire Eckel part-time, said county solicitor Barry Miller. Miller said the position won't include health benefits.

Schaible was picked from a pool of six candidates.

''He [Schaible] was my right-hand man for six months and my mentor,'' said Morgan, who was elected controller in November. ''He's very competent and gentlemanly.''

Matthews, a Republican, said the higher pay reflects the increasing complexity of the county's finances.

''Compensation changes as government grows,'' he said.

It is not the first time commissioners have sparred over hires since Matthews and Hoeffel, a Democrat, struck an across-party deal earlier this year that kept Castor out of the chairman and vice-chairman seats.

In January, Castor blasted the hiring of two Hoeffel campaigns aides to $90,000-a-year jobs. Hoeffel said both men were qualified.

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