Legislature Postpones Salary Discussions

MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Legislature will not be discussing salary increases during its monthly meeting today.

Despite four local laws establishing salary levels for elected officials being on the agenda for, it was announced the laws will not be discussed. According to an email from Kathy Tampio, legislative clerk, the purpose for the change in the agenda is to enable further review and analysis by all members of the legislature.

Legislature Chairman Jay Gould, R-Ashville, made the decision to pull the local laws off the agenda.

“There hasn’t been enough debate on (the local laws). There must be a better way,” Gould said. “Maybe there ought to be another way, other than a citizen’s committee, such as a cost-of-living every year, or every two years or something. (The local laws) weren’t enacted in (2008) and they won’t be enacted in (2013). As long as we keep going the way we are, it’s going to be hard to get people to fill these positions after a while, in a few more years.”

According to Gould, there were requests from other legislators to pull the local laws off the agenda as well. He believes there will be other suggestions for salary changes and the process before the discussion is over.

“I think we ought to discuss it a lot more than we have,” Gould said. “I couldn’t see any passage, all I could see was a couple hours of debate and failure for the laws to pass. So, what use is that at a legislation meeting, other than to burn time?”

The Salary Review Committee recommended that, as of Jan. 1, 2014, base salary for legislators increase from $9,000 to $12,000 per year, as the number of legislators will be decreasing from 25 to 17. It also recommended the chairman of the legislature receive an additional $8,000, majority and minority leaders an additional $1,000, assistant majority and minority leaders an additional $500, each committee chairman an additional $1,000 and each ranking member of committees an additional $250.

For the county executive position, the committee recommended an annual salary of $109,480; the county clerk position salary be $68,264; and the sheriff salary be $87,450, effective Jan. 1, 2014.

Last week, the Administrative Services Committee and the Audit and Control Committee each reviewed the recommendations. The Audit and Control Committee voted down each of the proposals. The Administrative Services Committee voted down the salary increases to the sheriff and legislators, but made recommendations to change the county executive salary to $100,000 and the county clerk salary to $62,000.