TOWANDA - A pay system which significantly boosted the pay of Bradford County employees during their early years of employment, is no more.

On Thursday, the Bradford County Commissioners eliminated the practice of giving most non-unionized employees a 2.5 percent guaranteed annual pay increase during their first 13 years of employment, along with an annual cost-of-living increase of up to 2 percent, county officials said.

Now, all non-unionized employees will receive an annual raise that is decided by the commissioners, Bradford County Commissioner Daryl Miller said.

The change affects the approximately 200 non-unionized full-time Bradford County employees, including most of the workers in the Bradford County Courthouse and the Bradford County Human Services Department, as well as LPNs and RNs at the Bradford County Manor, said Joan Sanderson, Bradford County fiscal director. There are a little over 400 full-time Bradford County employees, many of whom are covered by union contracts.

The change does not affect the employees whose pay is set by union contracts, such as corrections officers and probation officers, Miller said.

Miller said the new arrangement will save the county money over the long term and will make the county's pay system more closely resemble pay systems in the private sector.

The new system will also be fairer to the many county employees who have worked for the county for more than 13 years and are therefore no longer eligible for 2.5 percent guaranteed pay increases, which are called "step" increases, Miller said.

Miller said he could not say at this time how much the county will save under the new arrangement, since that would depend on the size of the raises that are given to county employees by the commissioners in future years.

The commissioners on Thursday also reduced the number of personal days, sick days, and floating holidays that non-unionized employees will receive.

New hires will receive a total of 10 fewer personal days, sick days and floating holidays than was the case until now, Miller said.

Current employees are not affected by the reduction in personal days, sick days, and floating holidays, Miller said.

Employees hired on or after Jan. 1, 2013, will be eligible each year to take two paid personal days, one paid floating holiday, and five paid sick days, Miller said.

The reduction in personal days, floating holidays, and sick days will not affect employees covered by union contracts, he said.

The reduction in paid personal days, floating holidays, and sick days will save the county a significant amount of money, the commissioners said.

The total amount of money saved by the reduction in paid non-working days for 21 employees is equivalent to the salary of a full-time worker, the commissioners said.

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: jloewenstein@thedailyreview.com.