Schware said elected county executives are limited to serving eight years. “We’re not enslaving someone to a low salary for 40 years of their life.”

Commissioner Scott Ott said during 2013 budget negotiations only a few weeks ago, some commissioners were terrified that county employees were going to lose their jobs.

“There’s no way, after that process we’ve just been though, I can support increasing the pay for the executive,” said Ott. “It’s bad business. It’s a failure to lead.”

McCarthy acknowledged salary doesn’t necessarily determine the caliber of a person, but feels a higher salary will help attract the highest caliber person. He said the salary should reflect the responsibilities and duties of the position as well as “the reality of the marketplace.”

Allentown resident John Ingram told commissioners McCarthy’s proposal to raise the executive’s salary is long overdue, adding: “I know it’s not popular among your board.”

“The county executive should be paid more than anyone under him,” said Ingram.

Ingram was a candidate to be appointed county executive in summer, when commissioners selected Hansell to complete the term of elected executive Don Cunningham.

Ingram said he and the other two applicants for the job have their own businesses and Hansell was retired. “If it hadn’t been for those businesses, I doubt very seriously if any of us would have considered county executive at $75,000 a year.”

Ingram noted some school superintendents in Pennsylvania are paid much more: “$175,000 to $200,000.”

While Dougherty said elected county executives don’t even have to show up for work, Ingram said if that happens, commissioners should report that executive to the local media.