December 1, 2021

County weighs salary increases for managers

The county Legislature’s Government Operations Committee on Thursday backed 4% pay raises next year for county management, department heads and election commissioners, and according to a 2015 decision, themselves.

Last month, the Legislature unanimously approved a 4% wage increase for public health nurses and civil service union employees, as part of a broader strategy to make county jobs more competitive and retain workers.

However, the county’s Management and Management Confidential Employee Policy Manual states that managers and confidential employees must receive an annual adjustment equal to the increase given to civil service employees.

The legislature also adopted a resolution in 2015 that tied legislators’ pay raises to that of the management compensation plan, which increases pay for county department heads and other employees, including office managers, medical advisers and secretaries.

The Government Operations Committee voted, 6-1, Tuesday in favor of amending the county’s compensation policy for 2022 to include a 2% wage increase for management employees, effective Jan. 1.

This 2% is in addition to the 2% wage increase scheduled for all county employees.

“I am in support of this and always was in support of the 2% increase for everyone, all employees, for next year,” Legislator Kelly Preston (U-Homer) said Thursday morning. “What I have been against was the raise immediately, but this was always planned and I’m not going to hold it back now.”

Legislator Linda Jones (U-Homer) voted Thursday in opposition.

“I will probably be voting no on all of these raises — as I’ve said before, I’m not against the raises, they need the raises, but it’s the manner in which you’re doing them now,” Jones said.

Legislator Eugene Waldbauer (RCortlandville) said he agrees with Jones, but would vote in favor of the resolution just to get it to the full Legislature for a final decision.

The committee also voted, 6-1, in favor of increasing the salary 4% for officers elected or appointed for a fixed term, including the county clerk, coroner, sheriff, county attorney, public defender, highway superintendent, public health director, personnel officer, social services commissioner, veterans service officer and treasurer. Jones voted in opposition.

The committee also voted unanimously in favor of a 2% salary increase for the Cortland County election commissioners, in addition to the county’s scheduled 2% increase. They are now paid $32,480 a year; the raise would bring them to $33,792.