Raising your own salary can be a dilemma for an elected official. That may be why most supervisor salaries will remain the same next year.
But supervisors in three of Erie County's larger towns will be voting on pay raises for themselves for next year.
One supervisor's salary would go up $30,000, another would jump nearly 27 percent. Another would see a 2 percent increase.
Two supervisors have proposed increases, but one, Barry A. Weinstein in Amherst, has already voted against a 40 percent increase in his salary - to $105,000 from $75,000 - that was approved by his fellow Town Board members. But he has to cast another vote Tuesday, when the board meets at 7 p.m. to vote on the proposed 2017 budget.
Weinstein said he opposes the idea of voting himself a raise on principle.
“It’s philosophical in the sense that I should not be voting on my own raise,” Weinstein said. “I use the verbiage that it’s ‘unseemly’ for me to vote on my own raise.”
He noted that, save for a small increase for the town clerk, there were no raises for elected officials included in the supervisor’s tentative budget that he presented to the Amherst Town Board in September. However, the board has the authority to amend his plan, if a majority of its five members votes to do so. The Town Board voted 3-2 to amend the supervisor’s plan to include raises for all elected officials in the town, including the rest of the Town Board, town clerk, highway superintendent and two town justices.
Weinstein declined to say whether or not he planned to vote to adopt the budget and, by default, the raises included in it, on Tuesday.
“I don’t know if we’re going to vote on the budget. I am not going to make a motion to approve the budget. If someone else does, and there is a budget vote, I’ll decide then what I’m going to do,” he said.
Weinstein noted that the supervisor’s salary has not been changed in 26 years, and he conceded that “the office is due for an increase for somebody.”
Photo gallery: Town supervisors and their proposed 2017 salaries
West Seneca Supervisor Sheila Meegan got an earful on her proposed salary increase at last week's public hearing. She has proposed increasing her salary from $63,096 to $80,000, up 26.7 percent, and hiking her stipend for serving as budget director from $500 to $2,000. That would bring her compensation to $82,000, the third-highest for a town supervisor in Erie County, behind the supervisors of Amherst and Hamburg.
"I think it's wrong for anybody to increase their salary when they're in office," one resident said during the public hearing.
Meegan defended the raise request at the hearing.
"Tell me why I don't deserve the raise," she said. "I work hard for this job, for this town, day in and day out."
In Lancaster, Supervisor Johanna M. Coleman is proposing a 2 percent raise, the first raise in five years for the town's nine elected officials. The supervisor's salary would increase to $68,337, from $66,997.
Supervisor Diane Benczkowski did not propose a pay increase for next year in this budget, her first budget as supervisor. The previous supervisor received a $7,000 stipend for being budget officer, but this year Benzkowski appointed a budget director, and the $7,000 went to him. Her salary will remain at $79,140.
Supervisor Patrick Casilio will receive a salary of $76,357 next year, the same he is getting this year. It will be the second year at the same salary, which he cut by 3.5 percent this year when he came into office.
Supervisor Steven J.Walters did not put in for a pay raise this year. He will continue to receive $82,123 in a salary for supervisor and a $7,500 stipend for being budget officer.
There will be no increase next year for Supervisor Patrick Keem, who will continue to receive his $70,761 salary for supervisor and a $6,000 stipend for budget officer.
Supervisor Joseph H. Emminger has proposed a status quo salary of $63,775 next year, plus the $13,277 he receives for being budget officer.