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Panel OKs county clerk's raise, but not treasurer's

A raise for Niagara County Treasurer David S. Broderick failed on a tie vote Tuesday at a meeting of the County Legislature's Administration Committee.
The same panel, on a 4-2 party-line vote, approved four years of pay raises for County Clerk Wayne F. Jagow, a Republican who was re-elected without opposition earlier this month.

But Broderick, a Republican who won a re-election race last year, lost out, at least temporarily, on a 3-3 tie. Legislator John Syracuse, R-Newfane, who had voted for Jagow's raise, switched sides when it came to Broderick.

Syracuse joined Democrats Harry J. Apolito of Lockport and Sean J. O'Connor of Niagara Falls in voting no on Broderick. The two Democrats were against Jagow's raise, too. Voting for both raises were Republicans Malcolm A. Needler of North Tonawanda, John D. Ceretto of Lewiston and Gerald K. Farnham of Lockport.

Syracuse would not say why he voted against Broderick's request.

"I really don't want to get into personnel matters," he said. "I take a look on a case-by-case basis."

Broderick, who currently is paid $76,864 a year, is seeking 2.5 percent annual raises that would take him to $78,786 in 2008, $80,756 in 2009 and $82,775 in 2010, the last year of his current term.

Jagow, who currently earns $76,235, is to receive 2.5 percent annual raises for each of the next four years. His pay would be $78,141 next year, $80,095 in 2009; $82,097 in 2010; and $84,149 in 2001, when his term ends.
Because Broderick's raises would come in the middle of his term, a public hearing would be required before the full Legislature could vote on them. No hearing is needed for Jagow's raises because they would take effect at the start of a new term.

Two committee members were absent Tuesday: Niagara Falls Democrats Renae Kimble and committee Chairman Jason J. Murgia. Murgia caucuses with the Republicans, however. Thus, unless someone changes his vote, their presence at a future meeting might simply be a recipe for a 4-4 tie on Broderick's raise.

Broderick said he was told the Republican-led majority caucus had decided Saturday that his raise should go through. Majority Leader Richard E. Updegrove, R-Lockport, confirmed that but said Syracuse hadn't attended that meeting.

Broderick, who has been in office for 34 years, has had trouble with the Legislature over his pay in recent years. It has long been customary to approve raises for re-elected countywide officeholders, but Broderick was snubbed last year. He said he made a raise request to the Administration Committee last year, but that never came to a vote.
Also Tuesday, the committee agreed that there should be a closed-door session at next Tuesday's Legislature meeting on whether to appeal the court ruling that upheld a tax break for AES Corp.'s Somerset power plant. Apolito was unable to get his colleagues to vote on his resolution directing an appeal.

County Attorney Claude A. Joerg said he wouldn't recommend spending the money because the Town of Somerset has already filed its notice of appeal, claiming the Industrial Development Agency violated its own rules in approving the deal. Joerg predicted the county would lose an appeal on its claim that AES was guilty of fraud, a claim rejected by State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. in September. His formal order was filed Nov. 14, starting a 30-day deadline to appeal.


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