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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Counties Pushing For State Law To Meet DA Reimbursement Duty

dalogoThe Potter County Commissioners have joined their counterparts across the state in encouraging public support for Pa. House Bill 1861, which provides a temporary funding source for the state’s share of county district attorney salaries.

For Potter County, more than $100,000 annually is at stake in the debate, according to the commissioners.

HB 1861 is still under consideration in conjunction with the budget. It contains increases to several fees in order to fund the courts. The bill was amended to include a share of an increase in fees for Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD) to cover the 65-percent share of the full-time district attorney salary as required by Act 57 of 2005.

The bill provides a temporary fee increase for each ARD of $17 for 25 months. Two dollars of this fee goes to a dedicated fund to reimburse counties for the district attorney’s salary. That fund, known as the Criminal Justice Enhancement Account, was actually created in 2007 to meet this obligation. However, the fines and fees deposited into this account have been inadequate to meet the full state obligation, which requires more than $6.5 million per year.

Counties have not been reimbursed for their 2008 or 2009 fiscal years, resulting in Potter County having to cover the DA salary on its own. Attempts to achieve this funding through a general fund appropriation in the state’s 2009-10 budget have not been successful. Potter County Today

37 comments :

Anonymous said...

Thats why I voted for Andy Watson, so Potter county wouldn't have to pay him the states share of his pay.thanks Andy for doing this. Dawn Fink would't do it and thats why she got beat. Go andy

Anonymous said...

That's poppycock. Andy still demands the annual salary of $160,000. He just says he will wait until the county gets the money from the state. Go ahead and ask him if he is willing to do the job for less than $160,000 a year. I voted for him because I swallowed the line of bull that he would do the job for less but now I think that was deceptive and he expects the same $160,000 full time salary plus he wants to have a part time DA too at the expense of the Potter County taxpayers with nothing from the state for that. Surprise surprise, it is his law partner and shirt tail relative David Ross Jr.

Anonymous said...

I voted for Andy as I believe he will help out the community and be more positive than Dawn ever was, she waits till the last minute to try to start to make a difference, she has had her entire term to do something and now she finally decides to, that does not do it for me. No matter what I see Andy doing a much better job in the position of District Attorney and I don't believe he was being deceptive in any form.

Anonymous said...

I think that the added fee to ARD participants is great. They want to drink, drive, get caught for a DUI and then request ARD so they should have to pay Big Time!

As far as I can see from the original article no one was talking about the present or future DA. It was about the State and County having to pay.

Of course any DA would be crazy not to accept the pay set by the State. Do you honestly believe that Andy is any different?

Anonymous said...

Doesn't anyone read the newspapers anymore??? Shortly after Andy announced that he would do the job for less, TWO IMPORTANT FACTS became known. First was that he NEVER expected to take less salary, just that he was willing to "postpone" getting the full salary until the state reimbursement arrived. At that point, he expected BACK PAY to make up the difference. This only became known when he was pinned down by the paper. Secondly, it was discovered that no DA CAN take less than the full salary. The Courts have already decided that. He would have to take the whole thing, COULD turn around and give part of it to whoever, but would have to then pay taxes on the full salary. He admitted to the paper that he would NOT be willing to do this after all! Didn't anyone follow this to get the full story? I feel like people voted without knowing the truth. I hope Potter County won't be sorry!

Anonymous said...

Do you mean that he tricked us. Everybuddy I know voted for andy so we could save the county 100,000 dollers. I think we got skrewd.

Anonymous said...

I'm with the last blogger - I think we just got skrewd and I did miss the info from Andy about the salary in the newspapers.

Certainly everyone is willing to wait on their money as long as they know that it is coming - especially $100,000.

Anonymous said...

To the second poster (2:00 pm) Better check your facts there allready is a part time DA funded by the county. Go Andy

Anonymous said...

Well to all of you who are second guessing yourselves there will be another chance to vote in November. There will be a spot on the ballot for write in.

GO DAWN!

Anonymous said...

For those of you just realizing you just were screwed and Andy pulled a fast one, this is the first of many tricks that will happen while he is in office. Haven't you heard of political promises? He has made many. Let's see how well he holds up to the rest of them. So far he does not have a good track record and he is not even in office yet.
He is very lucky he has a good staff waiting for him. It has been four years since he was in the DAs office and he is going to need the staff to direct him from finding the laws to where the restrooms are. Hope he realizes this.

Anonymous said...

I dont remember Andy ever saying he would work for less $$. I believe he said he wouldnt ask the County to pay the State's portion of his pay. He didnt trick anyone, some people just misunderstood what was written.

BTW Andy didnt write the article, the reporter did. If you want to blame someone for not making it clear call the local newspaper.

Anonymous said...

Ya right, just keep those "blinders" on! Ha Never the politicians fault...all ways the media,hhmmm

Anonymous said...

Some people would miss the point if it hit them squarely in the forehead. In my considered opinion, and in spite of the obvious slant on the Potter-Leader article, it appeared to me that Mr. Watson was merely trying to take the temporary financial burden OFF Potter County so that funding/resources would be more readily available for other programs. As stated, the law requires the DA take the full salary, so anyone with half a brain SHOULD have understood that he would be reimbursed for the deficit once the state funds became available....and none of you self-righteous hypocrites, who are so quick to condemn, can sit there and tell me you wouldn’t expect or take back pay due and owing you! As far as “the paper” goes, you can say and think what you want, but the bias is obvious to anyone who reads it as is their clear political preference. Just keep in mind...you can’t judge someone by the actions of his peers, politician or not....and if you need proof of that, take a good, long, hard look in the mirror.

Anonymous said...

Nice comment 10:09 and you really hit the nail on the head. The Potter-Leader had a vendetta against Leber and it spread over to Watson since they were partners. They also fell in love with John Torok when the former commissioners' were in office and they were down on Ken Wingo and really down on Kathy Bowers. It is a shame when personal feelings toward people effect what gets reported in the paper because a few people still think that if it is in the paper then it must be true. If they did not wrong Jeff Leber as determined by a court then why did the court order the Potter-Leader to run columns by Jeff so the other side could be heard? That tells it all right there.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the paper has an archived copy, anyone care to investigate further?

Anonymous said...

Yes, we definitely need to re-read Andy's announcement which is where I believe he offered to work for substantailly less. If my memory serves me, he NEVER mentioned collecting the balance retroactively in that announcement. Could you re-print it with the paper's permission, Jim? That might help sort this out. I don't know how other voters feel, but if I've been "bamboozled", I'd like to know!

Anonymous said...

An archived copy of a biased article...yeah that's worth a re-read...apparently not everyone shares your opinion since Andy Watson was nominated by both parties, so suck it up cupcake and find something else to whine about.

Anonymous said...

There are two things that are fact! Is the Leader Enterprise biased?? Yes! Did Mr. Watson say in the beginning of his campaign that he would work for less as the DA? Yes!!

Anonymous said...

This is the direct quote from Andy's announcement which was in the Endeavor newpaper. I don't know if this is different than the announcement in the Enterprise. In reading it, I DO believe he was being deceitful! If you know the facts, what he offered was merely a delay in the payment of his $160,000+ salary! It is a lie that his offer would be saving the county ANYTHING in the long run, but it would only temporarily help with cash flow! I DO feel that I was tricked!

Anonymous said...

From what I understand, the reason that Fink never made the same offer is because she knew what the law was and knew that she COULDN'T take less! I think that was in the follow-up article in the Enterprise where the editor confronted Andy and Andy finally admitted that he was only offering a temporary delay of his full salary!

Anonymous said...

Not sure this announcement which was attached got sent properly, so here it is.
"If elected, I am willing to accept only 40 percent of the annual salary until such time as the commonwealth properly reimburses Potter County," Watson said. "This will save the county more than $96,000 annually."

He added that his decision would give the county added funds for "much-needed additional counseling and placement services for juveniles in our criminal court system, especially those needing drug and alcohol counseling and temporary outside the home placements."

Watson said the funds could also be used for the county's Children and Youth Services and Area Agency on Aging programs.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the staff is HOT!

Anonymous said...

Well its not fair for the local law enforcement. They do the charges but get no reimbursement. Where is the fairness that the locals have to pay because the county and state don't give back for thier efforts.

Also I stated last week that the tatics that the politions use. It seems like most are wearing blinders. If you want to know about Gov't then you should get involved.

Anonymous said...

Clearly, Mr. Watson's "offer" to take less money was merely a campaign ploy. He duped the people of Potter County! Can't something be done about this? Isn't this a campaign violation of some kind or an ethical violation? I don't understand how we let this happen! He made Miss Fink sound greedy, when the truth apparently was that she knew that under the law, a DA CAN'T take less (or at least that's what I remember from the follow-up article in the Enterprise) AND Mr. Watson"s plan WOULD NOT actually save our county anything! Great!

Anonymous said...

The way to rectify this is to write DAWN FINK in for D.A. in November

Anonymous said...

Yes! Just because Fink apparently is not officially spearheading a write-in campaign, doesn't mean that the PEOPLE can't do it! I certainly don't want another deceitful, sneaky person in public office. Fink has done a darn good job, especially with putting away those child molesters!

Anonymous said...

We have been bamboozled!!! Write in Dawn Fink and tell everyone you know about how the citizens of Potter county have been bamboozled!!! Also, could the local press please bring this to the attention of the voters?

Anonymous said...

If Andy J. Watson offers to donate 60% of his salary ($96,510.00) to the county it will be a savings to the taxpayers. Anything short of that is deceitful and will save the taxpayers exactly ZERO dollars! By the way Andy if you choose to make this offer, and I doubt you will, remember you will be taxed at the federal, state and local level for the full $160,850.00 salary!!!

Anonymous said...

Where is the press?

Anonymous said...

I DO remember this issue when it first came out and it was clear to me that Andy's initial offer was a ploy that he got caught in. I was surprised, therefore, when the election returns came back. I remember thinking, "Didn't anyone else keep up on this"? I voted for Dawn before and I certainly feel compelled to vote for Dawn again, even if I have to write her name in on the ballot--or TYPE it in, I guess. She, like her dad, is a straight shooter.

Anonymous said...

If Andy has integrity, why didn't he make a statement to the press way back when all of this was first an issue and clarify his position as well as apologize for offering to do something that he cannot legally do. Instaed, he let the voters continue to think he was making a valid offer to save the county money! This is NOT RIGHT!

Anonymous said...

Aren't there any investigative reporters-from ANY paper- who could take this up? I bet if a poll was done, the majority of Potter County voters believed when they voted last spring that Andy would be doing the job for less money! Whoever used the word "bamboozled" had it right!

Anonymous said...

If you were going to run for an elected position wouldn't you do your homework BEFORE you made promise's about the salary! If he can't do the work to find out if he can even take a cut in pay, how is this guy going to handle criminal case's in the Court room??

Anonymous said...

"write DAWN FINK in for D.A. in November", I plan to!

Anonymous said...

It is understandable the Potter County voters wanted to save money. In the times which we live, we are looking to save a penny. But Potter COunty voters, please keep two things in mind (1) if the sole reason you voted for Watson was the money, please rethink your vote. This is a matter of child molesters roaming our streets because of a prosecutor who "will make no deals" with these molesters and risk losing a trial not to mention essentially revictimizing these poor child victims. (2) You can change your mind. THere is one more chance. The people of Potter County can vote Ms. Fink in by write in in November and maybe not save money but SAVE the children of this county, which sounds like a better deal to you.

Anonymous said...

I felt I was doing the responsible thing by saving the county $100,000 a year. It wasn't that I thought Andy was more qualified in any way than Dawn. In fact, I think Dawn has done an excellent job as DA. It can't be an easy job. But I thought $100,000 a year is a lot to save each year, esp. when Andy said it could be used for other county programs involving kids. Now I find out that I should have done more homework on his promise before I cast my vote. This is not right!

Anonymous said...

The question really is, "Did Dawn Fink come up with this non issue in an attempt to add to the $640,000.00 she has raked in over the past four years all on her own"?... "If elected, I am willing to accept only 40 percent of the annual salary until such time as the commonwealth properly reimburses Potter County," Watson said. That's very clear. I have a feeling one or two people keep writing in saying, "Write in Dawn Fink." She was stomped in both primaries and needs to just accept defeat graciously.