On the face of it, the pay scale for two Wyoming County healthcare workers looks a bit suspect: former CEO of Wyoming County Community Hospital Ronald Krawiec, making $195,283 in 2010; and Wyoming County Commissioner of Health Gregory Collins earning $179,623. (http://seethroughny.net/)
Krawiec and Collins were the highest and third-highest paid non-educator public officials in all of Western New York last year, respectively. Both men’s salaries are taxpayer-funded. They work in a county with a population of 42,155, according to the 2010 U.S. Census.
The other three individuals ranked within the top five public salaries in Western New York were Erie County employees – working for a taxpayer population over 5 times the size of Wyoming County. And in our region (Genesee-Orleans-Wyoming), the next highest salary of any non-educator public employee was Genesee County District Attorney Lawrence Friedman – ranked 92nd-highest in Western New York with a 2010 salary of $119,800. Orleans County District Attorney Joseph Cardone was close behind, at 99th and making $119,337.
Why such high salaries for the Wyoming County officials? County Board of Supervisors chairman A. Douglas Berwanger says at least one of the men’s salaries is completely defensible.
“Dr. Collins’ total salary for the year 2011 is $170,874. The portion as Commissioner of Public Health is $71,674,” Berwanger says. “Now, he also serves as medical director for the hospital, for the Wyoming County Jail, and for all the rescue squads in our county. For that, he’s paid the additional amount of money – and that sum is about $99,000.”
Berwanger says Greg Collins displays impeccable skill and dedication in his several separate duties to the county. Berwanger even implies that Collins may be the most valuable public employee in Wyoming County, because of the many hats he wears.
“What’s he’s doing is of utmost importance,” says Berwanger, “and it’s well worth the amount of money we pay him.”
Ronald Krawiec’s 2010 salary, however, is a bit of a sticking point. Doug Berwanger emphasizes that Krawiec became the beneficiary of a common Wyoming County practice, by which the percentage raise agreed upon in collective bargaining with unions is also given to non-union public employees.
“When he was hired, I believe he started at $150,000,” says Berwanger. By virtue of that county practice, Krawiec’s salary grew exponentially in a short time.
But the Board Chairman contends that New York State’s data is at least partially wrong: Berwanger says Krawiec was paid about $175,000 in 2010, not $195,000. “I don’t know where they receive their information, but I know that for a fact,” he says. Still, $175,000 puts Krawiec at fourth-highest paid public employee in Western New York.
Doug Berwanger says the practice of extending collective bargaining benefits to non-union employees is being looked at, and will undergo some changes for next year when the current CBA’s run out.
Ronald Krawiec took a position with Erie County Medical Center this spring, and Wyoming County has since hired his interim replacement as the full-time CEO of WCCHS. Dr. Leon Kuczmarksi is paid a starting salary of $163,000.
Acknowledgments to Business First of Buffalo for compilation of county-by-county data