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Local control increases a state mandate

May 24, 2010 - John D'Agostino

Those 3 percent annual raises doled out by area municipalities — or 8 percent in the village of Forestville — are decisions made by local boards that are costing us today — and in the future.

Local government boards are made up of the same people — and you can include county legislators in this bunch — who complain when their municipality is accountable for state mandates, specifically paying more into the state pension system.

But the local decisions are part of the problem. Local officials negotiate and approve the raises and increasing pay scales for their employees.

When pay for the hundreds of thousands of public workers go up across the state, the amount that has to be paid in the pensions go up as well. In his op/ed piece in The Wall Street Journal on May 21, Mortimer Zuckerman, chair and editor of U.S. News and World Report, wrote this:

"In New York, public-sector employees have received gold-plated perks for much of the 20th century, especially generous health-insurance benefits. Indeed, where once salaries were lower in the public sector, the salary gaps in the public and private sectors have disappeared or even reversed."

Want to read about salaries in your village or city, click on the link above. Those salaries you see — all locally controlled — in cities, villages, towns, the county, and school are based on pensions.

And when you look at the lists, remember the median salary in our county is around $34,000.


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