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DESPITE REQUEST TO RAISE SALARIES OF JUSTICES, AMHERST BOARD FREEZES PAY OF ELECTED OFFICIALS

Amherst will freeze salaries next year for all elected officials.

The Amherst Town Board had been considering increasing the pay salaries of the town's two justices to $50,000 from $8,000.

But the Town Board agreed, instead, to keep salaries for all elected officials at the same pay scale as this year.

"I just think it's absolutely outrageous to give a 20 percent raise when we're talking about cutting taxes," said Council Member Jane S. Woodward, a Republican.

Council Member Peggy G. Santillo, a Democrat, agreed.

"I don't think this is the appropriate time to be giving any of us raises," she said.

Last week, Randi Cohen Kennedy, Amherst's court administrator, asked the Town Board to consider raising the judges' salaries in next year's budget.

Neither Mark G. Farrell, a town justice since 1991, nor Sam Maislin, a town justice since 1993, has received a raise since entering office.

Maislin and Farrell, in fact, might not have benefited from a pay raise, anyway.

Maislin is up for re-election, and Farrell is running for State Supreme Court justice.

But the position's pay should reflect the court's heavy workload, Cohen Kennedy said.

Amherst Town Court is among the busiest in the state, generating revenues of $1.6 million last year from fines and fees, she said.

The figure is second only to the Town of Southampton court on Long Island, according to state figures.

Salaries for elected officials, nonetheless, will remain as follows:

Supervisor, $65,100.

Town Board members, $20,580 each.

Town clerk, $55,000.

Highway superintendent, $61,483.

Town justices, $42,000.

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