CLARKS SUMMIT – Borough Council has approved a 66 percent pay increase for Police Chief Joe Laguzzi.
The chief’s new four-year contract increases his yearly pay from $30,000 to $50,000 effective immediately. Council recently voted 5-1 to increase the salary of Laguzzi, who has been the borough’s police chief for nine months.
Councilman Herman Johnson cast the dissenting vote. The councilman praised the work of Laguzzi, but said he preferred a one-year contract over a four-year deal because future council members will be locked into the latter agreement without having any say.
Laguzzi said he is grateful for the pay increase. He said the raise in salary is an indication borough council recognizes his efforts in educating residents and making the community a safer place to live. The chief said his position is a demanding one, and, “I think the borough has recognized what I have done and what I am trying to do.”
Laguzzi started the job in January. Since then he has purchased three semi-automatic rifles for the department, paid for through private donations. He also restarted the DARE program at community schools and increased the amount of roving DUI patrols.
Despite being the borough’s top cop, Laguzzi still earns less than his departments’ least senior full-time officer, said borough manager Virginia Kehoe. The base wage for full-time officers is $52,779 in 2014; and full-time officers, unlike the chief, are eligible for overtime.
Regardless, council President Gerrie Carey said Laguzzi is happy with the new deal, noting the chief gets a pension from Carbondale, where he worked for over 20 years as a police officer.
Carey added, “He’s an excellent chief, so it’s a win-win for us. … He has done a phenomenal job and brought in so much funding for the borough. I’m glad we can reward him.”