Dutchess Legislators Approve Raises

Would increase their salaries by 6 percent

By Jeff Simms

Dutchess County legislators on June 10 voted 13-12 to raise their salaries by 6 percent and the salaries of other elected county officials by 12.5 percent. The measure has been sent to County Executive Marc Molinaro, who can sign the resolution into law or issue a veto.

Frits Zernike and Nick Page, who both represent Beacon, voted against the measure. Eleven Republicans and two Democrats voted for the raises.

Before the vote, Legislator Will Truitt, a Republican who represents parts of Hyde Park and Poughkeepsie, attempted to exclude the Democratic leadership from the raises but there was no second to his motion.

Another legislator, Joseph Incoronato, a Republican who represents part of Wappinger, proposed an amendment excluding legislators from the raises, saying he had calculated that each spends about 183 hours annually in meetings and so earns $84 an hour. It failed 23-2, with Zernike and Page each voting “no.”

In a statement, the Legislature’s Democratic leaders said the party’s opposition “focused on the arbitrary nature of the raises, the lack of background material provided to justify the current and future salary levels and Chairman [Gregg] Pulver’s failure to provide the public the opportunity to give input.”

The salary increase for legislators will be 3 percent over each of the two years beginning in 2020. It will total 12.5 percent for other elected officials over four years.

The increase will be the first for members of the Legislature since 2005. Dutchess legislators currently earn $15,450 annually in salary, and Molinaro earns $139,869. Other elected officials include the sheriff ($125,664), the district attorney ($200,400), the county clerk ($106,023) and the comptroller ($99,937).