In a city with an annual median household income under $28,000
Wilkes-Barre’s newly appointed administrator, Gregory Barrouk, began his career with the Wilkes-Barre administration over eight years ago. The Independent Gazette attempted to obtain his employment history from Wilkes-Barre City Hall but city spokeswoman Liza Prokop advised Gazette reporters to file RTK (Right-to-Know) requests for matters involving an employee’s longevity and salary. Prokop stated in an email response, “I would advise utilizing the RTK process for your inquiries on employment status.”
Barrouk, son of former Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce President Steve Barrouk, was hired by Mayor Leighton immediately upon graduating King’s College. Prior to accepting the position with city hall Barrouk worked mowing lawns and was also a member of the King’s College Young Democrats.
2006: According to a Times Leader article from May 25, 2006, Barrouk received a $7,500 salary increase in 2005, raising his annual salary from $30,000 to $37,500.
2012: The Gazette began publishing, and at that time Barrouk was being paid $67,989 annually, plus benefits, per a response to an open records request filed by a Gazette contributor seeking a list of all salaries and benefits for city employees.
2013: Barrouk was promoted to the position of deputy city administrator. When questioned by the Gazette regarding a salary increase at that time Barrouk declined to comment.
2014: Barrouk was promoted to city administrator, following the retirement of longtime city employee Marie McCormick. At the October 9, 2014, city council meeting Barrouk was again questioned by the Gazette with regard to his new salary. “I heard your new salary was in the mid-80s, is that correct?” the Gazette asked. Barrouk nodded in agreement, responding, “That sounds about right.” The Gazette reporter followed up with, “Could you tell us what your exact salary is?” Council Chairman Bill Barrett immediately interjected, “He doesn’t have to answer that,” at which point Barrouk declined to discuss the matter further.
The Gazette has submitted an open records request seeking Barrouk’s annual salary, benefit package, and date he will be pension-vested.
This author cited the following statistics during the public comment portion of that October 9 Wilkes-Barre City Council meeting. The figures were obtained from CityData.com, a website that tracks real estate statistics about all US cities.