West Chester Twp. trustees give administrator 3% pay hike

They praise him for community development efforts during a pandemic-impacted year.

The West Chester Twp. trustees say Administrator Larry Burks has been outstanding at the helm of their operation and worthy of the $4,540 pay hike they just gave him.

The trustees approved a 3.17% pay increase last week for Burks, which is slightly higher than the flat 3% he received the two previous years. He was hired in 2018 to replace Judi Boyko, who first went to become the Hamilton County assistant administrator and is now the Butler County administrator.

Trustee Ann Becker said Burks has done an “outstanding” job.

“Larry is very outspoken on presenting our community in a way that reflects all of our values,” Becker said. “He understands that our businesses are important, he understands that our residents are important and he looks out for every taxpayer in the best way he can and he does it in a strong way with all our community partners on a daily basis.”

The trustees approved a pool of money last month to give non-contractual employees performance pay hikes, but Burks’ raise is not included in that bucket of money. The performance raise range is 1% to 4% and Trustee Mark Welch said “nobody’s perfect” in terms of performance and he believes the raise they gave Burks is fair.

“We like what Larry’s doing, he’s a big community development guy, he works well with all the departments, he’s brought in a really open and cooperative culture within the township,” Welch said. “So the 3% was rewarding him for the advancements and improvements he’s made in the township.”

Trustee Lee Wong said Burks’ salary is on par with administrators in other communities of West Chester’s size and he has been “very good.”

Burks said despite all the challenges his job entails, especially this past pandemic-ridden year, “I still love getting up in the morning and coming to work.”

“I’m not going anywhere until they get rid me,” Burks told the Journal-News. “They’ll have to drag me kicking and screaming. I love West Chester, I have a great team to work with.”

Every year the trustees take a percentage of the total non-union payroll — this year it is 3.5% — for raises. The $155,518 pool is to reward 76 employees based on their performance reviews. The pool also includes $36,400 for part-time firefighter and fire inspector raises.

The individual raises will be awarded this summer. As a benchmark, Assistant Township Administrator Lisa Brown was the only director last year to receive the maximum 4% pay hike. She received a $3,842 raise bringing her salary up to $99,900. Burks determined her increase.

“We brought Lisa in toward the bottom of her pay scale, so her performance warranted a 4% to try and gradually over time get her up more in line with the what the average is for an assistant administrator,” Burks said.

Wong said part of the reason they gave Brown the full raise was because there have been other communities interested in her talents and they needed to be competitive.

“She was very good, she was in high demand,” Wong said. “We’d like to keep her, she’s done a good job.”

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