West Seneca Supervisor Sheila M. Meegan managed to get half of her salary loaf, which, by the way, state legislators and most of the public would envy.
Meegan wanted a nearly 30 percent raise, which would have rocketed her pay from $63,096 to $82,000, including a $2,000 stipend (up from the current $500) for serving as budget director.
Instead, the Town Board set her pay at $72,500, still nearly a 14 percent raise. With the stipend, she’ll earn almost $11,000 more than last year.
That doesn’t sit well with upset citizens who correctly believe that Meegan, who is just beginning her second term, understood from the beginning what the pay and duties would be.
Former Councilman Dale Clarke continues to get it right when he says the Town Board should be ashamed. He is one among many outraged public citizens in various towns who cannot believe their ears when elected public officials insist that they deserve a raise because they’re working hard. But so are most taxpayers, who are lucky to see even small pay hikes these days.
Yet, requests for more money went out from the supervisor in West Seneca, Town Board members in Amherst, who wanted a whopping 40 percent increase, and Lancaster Supervisor Johanna M. Coleman, who wanted a much more modest 2 percent raise.
Politicians know the best time to raise their pay is right after an election, to give the public time to get over their vociferous objections. Amherst Deputy Supervisor Steven D. Sanders, who introduced the amendment to raise his pay $10,000, was brutally honest when he said: “To me, this was the ideal time. It’s not an election year.”
These elected public officials ran for office knowing what the compensation would be. If they had any objections they should have campaigned on the issue of deserving a raise, and let voters weigh in. But they didn’t, because they knew how that proposal would have been received. Voters should remember the next time these people run for office.
No one is saying that the supervisors and elected officials are not working hard. Working hard should be a given. Just let the voters know how much more money they think they need in order to work hard.