The county may now have a much easier time finding a qualified candidate to take on the role of deputy warden at the Erie County Prison.
On Tuesday, Erie County Council approved a pay raise for the position, boosting it from $41,000 to $70,000.
"We knew that a starting salary of $41,000 was never going to attract any real credible candidate," said Erie County Councilman Dr. Kyle Foust. "That's a salary that was set long ago in the personnel code and we know it's so out of date, we're going to have to adjust that to some degree."
A committee created to find a deputy warden has had a difficult time find interested candidates.
"A variety of people, professionals in the business did a search," said Erie County Council Chairman Joe Giles. "In the search, they found that the top 10 candidates expectations for salary we're a lot more than what we we're offering."
That candidate will be from out of state.
"They couldn't find somebody in Pennsylvania that's familiar with our system," said Dr. Foust. "But that's something I think any experienced prison administrator will be able to overcome."
The deputy warden will take over as Warden James Veshecco's successor. He currently makes over $80,000 a year and plans on retiring at the end of 2013.
"What we're having now is a current debate about change," said Giles. "If a person goes from a deputy to the full time warden, obviously, there will be an increase in salary."
Council members agree that this is a major step forward in addressing some of the problems that have been occurring at the prison.