Montgomery questions timing of increases

The Putnam County Legislature on Oct. 28 approved 3.5 percent raises for the county executive and the department’s staff.

At the special meeting called to adopt the 2023 budget, legislators approved raising the annual salaries of the county executive to $176,022, the deputy county executive to $129,375, the chief of staff to $86,107, the director of constituent services to $46,643 and the confidential secretary to $62,100.

Because County Executive MaryEllen Odell is not running for re-election due to term limits, Nancy Montgomery, whose district includes Philipstown and part of Putnam Valley, questioned the increases, which were described as cost-of-living adjustments.

“These people are not in office yet or hired and we don’t know who some or all of them are going to be,” said Montgomery, who is the only Democrat on the panel. “It’s silly to be handing out raises to people we don’t even know yet.”

Kevin Byrne, a Republican state legislator, is running unopposed to succeed Odell.

Legislator Paul Jonke, whose district includes Southeast, responded that “every employee gets cost-of-living adjustments — you haven’t objected to any others but you’re going to pick on one department. It’s politics.”

The chair of the meeting, Legislator Neal Sullivan, whose district includes Carmel and Mahopac, then called for a vote but did not ask for abstentions or “no” votes. Montgomery requested he do so, then voted no.

“You happy?” Sullivan said.

The Legislature also approved a 4.8 percent raise for the legislative clerk, to $113,637 annually, and 2 percent for an administrative assistant, to $50,486. The vote to approve those raises was unanimous.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

A former longtime national magazine editor, Rowe has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Idaho and South Dakota and has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Northwestern University. Location: Philipstown. Languages: English. Area of Expertise: General.