PUBLIC AGENCY HEADS RAKING IN ALMOST $500,000 - Politicians Shocked, Calhoun's Senior Services "Excellent"

By Bob Weaver

Consider most of this is on your dime, if you are a taxpayer.

After a flurry of statements from politicians who had no knowledge that the Wyoming County senior services director Robert Graham was making over $300,000, now comes the latest information.

Graham actually earned $460,000 last year.

That's $156,000 more than the amount that got the public upset the first time.

The information was accessed by the Associated Press using the Freedom of Information Act.

The new amount includes overtime, a Christmas bonus and cashed-in sick, annual and personal leave.

Most senior center directors, if the two highest paid directors are removed from the statistic, earn about $35,000 a year.

Senior services reports show that most county directors earn about $35,000, excluding the salaries of the two directors from Wyoming and Lincoln.

CCCOA Director Mike Ritchie earns about $36,000 a year. A state agency report obtained by the Hur Herald, shows that seniors are being served well in Calhoun County.

Graham's salary has apparently been cut to $99,000 after legislators began considering a bill to levy a heavy tax on agency directors making more than $100,000 a year. Considering the latest revelation, it is unclear where that really leaves him.

Wyoming's state senator, who is on the center's payroll at $25,000, obtained about $400,000 for the center from the Budget Digest. Graham had been loaning the center's senior buses for local sporting events.

Sen. Ed Bowman, who called for a study of non-profit group after it was discovered the Wyoming County senior center director was making over $300,000, now has mud on his face.

Bowman sits on the board of Northwood Health Systems, a non-profit group in Wheeling that deals with mental illness, developmental disabilities and substance abuse problems.

Pete Radakovich, the director of the northern panhandle center, raked in nearly $400,000 last fiscal year, not including all his benefits, mostly using Medicaid and taxpayer funds.

Bowman claims he is surprised.

The mental health center had earlier failed to pay into their employees benefit packages, and had fired employees and cut programs, causing some board members to laud Radakovich for his successful management.

The center's once highly regarded substance abuse program known as "First Step" was gutted leaving only one or two people to deliver services.

Most mental health center's have faced critical financial programs and have gone to strict business models.