Clerks' pay raises throw wrench in finances

Employees haven't received pay increases since 2003.
CAMPBELL -- City Municipal Judge Patrick P. Cunning raised the salaries of select court employees in this cash-strapped city, effective July 1.
John Leskovyansky, city finance director, said the judge signed journal entries on June 30 to raise the salaries of the clerk of court and bailiff/deputy clerk. The judge wrote that they are "entitled to a salary increase."
The computer clerk/deputy clerk was promoted from part-time to full-time status and given full employee benefits because of an "increase in caseload and governmental requirements," the judge's order says.
Campbell has been in the state of fiscal emergency since June 2004. Judge Cunning came to the municipal bench Jan. 1.
Mary Helen Muntean, the clerk of court, and Christine Maker, bailiff/deputy clerk, received a 9 to 10 percent pay raise to be taken from the general fund, Leskovyansky said. Muntean will now be paid $39,050 a year, and Maker will be paid $23,650 a year.
Jean A. Darkadakis, computer clerk/deputy clerk, received a pay increase of about 379 percent, to be taken from the computerization fund, Leskovyansky said. Darkadakis will receive $20,080 plus full benefits.
Darkadakis's husband was formerly employed by the Campbell Police Department and after serving for 17 years, he recently applied for disability retirement, Leskovyansky said.
The three women declined to comment about their raises.
Caught off guard
Leskovyansky said that the city was not prepared for this increase and there is no money in the budget to cover the appropriations. He said because of this, the general fund may run out of money shortly after the new year.
To increase the appropriations, city council would have to have the proposal read three times before voting, Leskovyansky said. The next council meeting is scheduled in September.
"We may have to reduce different services," Leskovyansky said. "I really don't know. If the money runs out, I don't know what will happen ... Just because there's money there, don't assume you can spend it."
Mayor Jack Dill and Council President Bill Vansuch confirmed that the increases were given but did not want to comment until they can speak with Judge Cunning. The judge has been on vacation since the beginning of the month and will not return until Friday.
There have been no raises granted to city employees since 2003, Leskovyansky said.
He also said that the prospect of city employees getting a raise in the next three years is grim as well. The city's income tax collection year-to-date is lower than the previous year, and he will be unable to predict the exact economic impact the court's raises will have until September

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