Putnam Legislators Expected to Approve Their Own Raises

Last increase was in 2007; would make $40K annually

By Holly Crocco

Putnam County legislators are expected to approve a 2018 budget that gives each of the nine part-time lawmakers a 14 percent raise, to $40,000 annually.

Legislature Chairwoman Ginny Nacerino (R-Patterson) noted that, aside from a $700 cost-of-living increase in 2016, the pay for legislators has not changed in 10 years.

At a meeting on Oct. 16 of the Legislature’s Personnel Committee, Nacerino said the $5,000 increase is the equivalent of 1 percent annually, if amortized to 2007. She said she believed the raise to be well-deserved, considering the “time that is spent and the amount of dedication to public service” that is required, and given that the position is not a “Monday-through-Friday” job but includes evenings and weekends.

“I certainly have no reservation about advocating for an increase,” she said. “We undermine our own value when we stay with zero, zero, zero… So, this is a fair assessment and it is well-deserved after a decade.”

Putnam legislators the second-highest paid county lawmakers in the region, second only to Westchester, where the base salary is $49,200. (Dutchess legislators make $15,450 annually.)

“It’s a really high increase,” she said.

She also pointed out that part-time elected officials, such as the legislators, are entitled to health benefits.

Nacerino countered that legislative salaries cannot fairly be compared between counties because each job is different. For example, Westchester lawmakers get stipends for serving on various committees and performing other duties, she said, which is not the case in Putnam.

“I stand, with conviction, that this proposed raise is deserving for the job that we do and will continue to do,” she said. “This position has wanted for one raise, in a decade, and I anticipate we will not be revisiting this for another decade.”

A public hearing on the county’s 2018 budget is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m. at the Historic Courthouse in Carmel. The Legislature is expected to vote on the budget on Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. at the same location.

10 thoughts on “Putnam Legislators Expected to Approve Their Own Raises

  1. There is no reason for the Putnam Legislature to exist and I believe that the charter form of government for the county should be abolished. We should return to the board of supervisors that existed previously. There is not one legislator who stands up for the taxpayer. They don’t respond to letters, emails or phone calls. The position is basically a no show job and now they have the audacity to raise their salaries at a time when the COLA is under 1.5 percent and Social Security increases are under 1 percent.

    In the real world, none of these people would be able to hold a job, not even at Walmart — they are that unqualified. And yet, thanks to public apathy, the incumbents keep getting re-elected year after year, most likely including the sheriff.

  2. Years ago there was a scandal involving the cost of a toilet seat. Well, there is another scandal brewing in Putnam County: the cost of a rubber stamp as evidenced by the proposed justification for an increase in legislative salaries.

  3. Looking at the chart — and I apologize if some of this is repetition for those who may have heard me comment in the past — but the numbers for the mayors and to a smaller extent for the boards and councils appear remarkably low, relatively speaking.

    The salary numbers for the mayors appear low by somewhere between one and five thousand; by the board and councils by a thousand or so.

    The salaries for the Duchess county legislators appear low by at least five thousand.

    One principle that applies here, now and in the future, is that you get what you pay for, in terms of the quality of the decisions made by local government, by which we are all impacted.

    • Does anyone honestly think that if we give Putnam Legislators more money it willd somehow improve their performance? The problems that exist with this group of politicians have nothing to do with the amount of money they receive.

      Rather — as I have seen demonstrated every time I have an interaction with one of them or their colleagues — there is a systemic contempt for the taxpayers and residents who foolishly elect them. They are bureaucrats who only care about their well paid, no-show jobs and the power that they get to wield over the county.

      Why else do you think that the system is rigged so that the only way they can get a raise is to vote it for themselves? I am sure that if their salaries were put up for a referendum, they would be reduced.

      • While this article discusses the Putnam legislature, my comment did not pertain to that body. I was commenting on the salaries at the Dutchess legislature and for the city of Beacon and the villages of Cold Spring and Nelsonville.

        I have no thought as to how to improve the performance of the Putnam legislature. If someone argues their salaries be kept at $35,000 per year or even reduced I would not have a counterargument. If I ever see a petition for a reform of the Putnam county government I would review it and possibly get behind it and support the change, depending on the details.

  4. To ask for an increase in salary when factoring a) it’s a part-time job and b) they are given benefits. Outrageous! How many Putnam residents are working for less than what these greedy “legislators” are milking the county for? Just another example of government throwing money out the window (but right into their own pockets). Remember this when you head to the polls.

  5. It should also be noted that in addition to the Legislators’ obscene 14 percent salary increase, they will also be voting to give each of the two Board of Elections commissioners who run the election process in our county an increase of 8.42 percent, for an annual salary of nearly $90,000.

    When you consider that these are two pure patronage positions that have no other qualifications than being the biggest political insiders in The Club, and that they are part-time, no show jobs — it is incredible that the taxpayers aren’t out with their pitchforks and some tar and feathers to protest in person.

    Oh wait, I forgot — they can’t put down their screens long enough to participate in the local government that is robbing them blind.