Compensation increases for 18 county positions including the sheriff, county clerk, and treasurer, were passed by the Montgomery County Legislature at its full meeting on March 28. Some of the increases were to the position’s benefits only, others were to both base salary and benefits. Total compensation increases totaled over $76,000. The benefits for two positions with newly appointed employees were reduced, leaving the net increase of all the adjustments at just over $64,000.
The local law specifies the maximum compensation each position may receive for the year, not necessarily what the position will actually receive. The table below compares the base salaries and total compensation including benefits, before (2016) and after the legislative action (2017).**
|Position||Total Comp 2017||Base 2017||Total Comp 2016||Base 2016|
|Commissioner of Public Works||$76,749||$76,499||$86,399||$76,499|
|Commissioner of Social Services||$81,949||$76,499||$79,099||$76,499|
|Personnel Officer/ Self Insurance Director||$80,349||$76,499||$66,680||$64,730|
|Real Property Director||$60,309||$52,959||$59,059||$52,959|
|Clerk of Leg||$58,157||$50,607||$56,907||$50,607|
|Economic Opportunity & Dev. Director||$84,449||$76,499||$77,640||$71,240|
|Director of Community Services||$67,680||$64,730||$65,680||$64,730|
|Public Health Director||$84,049||$76,499||$82,799||$76,499|
Legislator Martin Kelly cast the only no vote on the measure.
“When somebody runs for office, I don’t believe their salaries should change midterm,” said Kelly after the meeting, referring to the elected positions of sheriff, county clerk, treasurer and coroner.
In March 2016, the legislature passed a policy on compensation for elected officials. That policy specifies that any raises passed by the legislature cannot take effect until the position’s next term, not mid-term. However, the policy itself does not take effect until each position’s next term.
County Executive Matt Ossenfort said it is reasonable for elected officials other than himself and the legislature, to expect that their compensation would increase comparable to other non-bargaining employees.
“They have historically been part of the non-bargaining contract, which includes benefits and salary increases,” said Ossenfort. “By not giving them that, you are taking away what that expectation was when someone ran for office.”
“When the new term starts, that salary is set at one number and it is that number for the term…but that does not begin until the next term,” he added.
Ossenfort said that other non-elected positions were increased in order to bring them closer to other comparably sized departments.
“The economic development director and probation are in a lower bucket than our IT director. So to me that’s an inequity in the system,” said Ossenfort. “I think our bigger department heads should be paid comparable salaries.”
According to the local law, the salary increases to the elected officials are subject to a permissive referendum under New York State law. Montgomery County voters have 45 days from the date the law was passed to submit a petition for a referendum on the law.
** Base salary figures provided by Matt Ossenfort.