The Cortland County Government Operations and Committee meeting met yesterday morning at the Cortland County Office Building. One of the items on their agenda was approving a raise for Legislators.
Before the vote, Legislator Cathy Bischoff spoke on her research into giving legislators a raise. Noting the legislator has not been given a raise since 2015 and are underpaid when compared to comparable counties in the state. She continued on saying that the legislature has many large projects coming up and the amount of work each legislator puts in easily justifies the raise.
Currently, the Cortland County Legislature is paid $10,000 per year for each Legislator and the Chair of the Legislator being paid $19,000 and the Majority and Minority Leaders paid $10,500.
In 2015, the Legislature voted last to give themselves a raise. Increasing their salary from $6,000 to $10,000.
The proposed increase would be $12,000 for each Legislator, $21,000 for the Chair, and $12,500 for the Majority and Minority Leaders.
“I’m struggling with this. I’m very conflicted” said Legislator Dr. Susan Wilson in regards to understanding the need for a raise, but the issues with current county employees salaries. Wilson felt the Legislature should hold off on giving themselves a raise until county employees get a raise.
Legislator Preston brought up that she will support this, but would’ve preferred seeing Legislators receiving a stipend for their work. A stipend is a fixed amount of money provided for unpaid work. She cited how Chair and Vice Chair members to the county committees are the ones who have to answer questions, particularly by the media regarding recent actions.
The Committee then voted with a final vote approving the resolution 4 to 3. Legislators Wagner, Eccleston, and Wilson voted against.
It will now be up to the full Legislature to vote to approve the raises come their monthly meeting on October 26th.