Saying both jobs have equal responsibility and most counties in Ohio already do it, the Mahoning County Board of Elections members gave its deputy director a $5,860 annual raise so her salary is the same as the director.
With the increase approved Tuesday by the board, Deputy Director Joyce Kale-Pesta, a Democrat, will earn $63,860, the same annual salary as Director Thomas McCabe, a Republican.
It’s a 10.1-percent pay raise for Kale-Pesta.
“It’s reflective of the work Joyce has done during the last 61/2 years” as deputy director and her 24 years as an elections-board employee, said Mark Munroe, the board’s vice chairman and the county Republican chairman. “It’s a common practice across the state of Ohio. Joyce and Tom work as partners to run the office. It’s time has come.”
The board of elections directors and deputy directors in Trumbull and Columbiana counties are paid the same. The annual salary in Trumbull County is $56,365, and it’s $56,326 in Columbiana County.
Under state law, if a county elections-board chairman is a Democrat, the director must be a Republican, and vice versa.
For the past 61/2 years, Robert Wasko, a Democrat, has served as chairman with McCabe as director.
The board “may be looking at [a change] in the future,” Wasko said.
He added that he’s a “big promoter of having the director and deputy director switch consistently at some point.”
There was no consideration given to reducing McCabe’s salary when making the director’s and deputy director’s pay the same, Munroe said.
The money for Kale- Pesta’s increase comes from the elections-board budget.
Also Tuesday, the board accepted the retirement of Mary Sharpe, a clerk, effective March 31. The board hasn’t decided when it will replace Sharpe, who made about $35,000 annually.