DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - You pay taxes that fund their salaries, but you may be surprised to know what some county employees are being paid.
2 NEWS Investigates dug into 4,000 Montgomery County salaries and found at least 55 people were each paid more $100,000 last year.
The top earner is a forensic pathologist with the Coroner’s office.
According to data 2 NEWS Investigates obtained from the Montgomery County auditor’s office, the top forensic pathologist had a salary of $179,000. On top of that, he took home an additional $43,000 from benefits and overtime. All together he was paid $222,824.
2 NEWS Investigates called the coroner’s office and found that Forensic Pathologists have to be board certified. They’re the ones conducting autopsies and investigating deaths.
According to coroner Kent Harshbarger, who had a salary of $118,000 last year, his team is paid fairly for the amount and type of work they do. In fact, he told us if he could, he would pay them more.
There are 54 other county employees who had salaries over $100,000.
They include: the health commissioner at $173,000, court administrator at $110,000, the human resource director at $107,000, and the county engineer at $104,000.
We showed the list of salaries and positions to Montgomery County business owners Jamaica White and Jalonda Hill.
“I don’t think it’s fair,” said Jalonda Hill.
“Well for me it depends on what they do, if they have the educational background and experience,” said Jamaica White.
White says, as a tax payer, she would like to know more about what these top jobs entail.
“I mean they make a lot of money but I’m not going to say they are not deserving of it too,” said White.
Local tax watchdog Ron Alban says these salaries are out of line.
“The traditional deal between the people and government employees is, we will give you great benefits, we will give you great job security, but in return we expect a modest salary and with respect to these high end positions, that deal has been broken,” said Alban.
According to Census data, the average person living in Montgomery County makes about $25,000. The highest Montgomery County employee salary is more than 7 times that. Alban says local government leaders need to take the economic situation of the area into consideration.
“I think it’s important that the leaders of Montgomery County understand that these salaries seem out of line to most people in the private sector that are struggling to make ends meet,” said Alban.
“They should have showed us this list like right in high school, right before you go to college because maybe you would have changed some things that you would have done,” said White.
There’s not one person or group in charge of determining salaries of all county employees. In Montgomery County, each department is responsible for setting its own.
We contacted the county commissioner’s office. A spokeswoman says their policy states they keep salaries competitive and based off performance.
They declined any further comment.
You can take a look at all Montgomery County employee salaries yourself here:
We did look at the total compensation for county employees which includes benefits such as any bonus or overtime.
We found the top forensic pathologist, county administrator, and the health commissioner made more than $200,000 in 2012.
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