Minority Leader Joe Lorigo introduced a resolution Thursday requesting a public hearing be held in each legislative district in Erie County prior to the Legislature taking a vote on proposed salary raises for the county executive, comptroller and sheriff.
The Citizens Salary Review Commission recommended the following pay increases:
• Raising the county executive's salary from $103,248 to $118,376.
• Raising the sheriff's salary from $79,092 to $89,343.
• Raising the comptroller's salary from $80,613 to $94,037.
Members of the Legislature’s Majority Caucus objected to taking a vote on the resolution and it was sent to the Government Affairs Committee.
Minority Leader Lorigo said, “I’m disappointed in my colleagues for refusing to act in the best interest of Erie County taxpayers. After they declined a budget that would have provided county residents with the first actual tax cut in nearly 20 years, now is not the time to fast-track a pay raise for elected officials. I’m willing to keep an open mind, but first, taxpayers across the county should have an opportunity to weigh in before we make any decisions.”
Legislator John Mills said, “If we are spending taxpayer dollars to inflate county officials’ salaries, the people we represent should have a voice in this process. I fully support accommodating taxpayers and holding a public hearing in every legislative district in the county.”
Legislator Lynne Dixon said, “Public input should always be encouraged. We have a responsibility to listen to the individuals we represent and carefully consider their concerns. Raising pay for county officials should not be voted on until residents have a chance to weigh in, as this is an issue taxpayers have always had a strong opinion on.”
Legislator Ed Rath said, “Our focus should be to provide Erie County residents with tax relief, and instead the Majority Caucus and County Executive want to hand out raises to the county executive, comptroller and sheriff without hearing from taxpayers. It is especially inappropriate shortly after members of the Legislature wasted a shot at delivering the first tax cut to all county residents for the first time in nearly 20 years. Before moving forward with approving raises, we should hear from the people we represent first.”
A copy of the resolution can be found here. Members of the Citizens Salary Review Commission are expected to speak at the Legislature next week.