Pay Raise Draws Ire

LITTLE VALLEY – County employees will be getting pay increases after a public hearing and vote last week, despite protest form a taxpayer, who is also is part of the supervisory bargaining unit, claiming the law does little more than line pockets and create ill will.

Cathy Johnson, a representative of the Supervisory Bargaining Unit within the county, spoke as the lone voice of opposition during the public hearing, saying she felt the local law that would establish the pay increases is a result of negotiation in bad faith.

“As part of the negotiation team for the Supervisory Unit, and meeting repeatedly with an out-of-county, high-priced attorney to figure all of this out, I feel the Supervisory employees within the county, for the most part, have gone above and beyond to get things done, and we thought we were doing a good thing for the county in taking a zero-percent raise,” she said.

She went on to say that many in supervisory roles, or represented by the supervisory unit, are on food stamps or other social services benefit, to include HEAP.

“A loaf of bread costs the same for us as it does for each of those officers,” she said. “Even Social Security is providing a 1.5 percent increase this year.”

Johnson said the legislators can use the casino revenue to provide these wage increases, but a larger problem looms in the nursing homes, and it seems the concern is in continuing to “line the pockets.”

The law calls for raises that would include an allocated portion of the annual 2 percent increase for 2012, with an additional 1 percent hike for 2013. According to members of the legislature, after a November meeting, the county officers that are receiving the increase were given these increases previously. When funding proved to be insufficient, the increases were then rescinded.

The local law was presented as a roll call vote, resulting in a unanimous passage.