The Erie County Legislature will soon be deliberating the recommendations of the Citizens Salary Review Commission, which last year unanimously endorsed the idea of modest pay raises for the county comptroller, sheriff, and county executive. This idea is appropriate and these officials deserve a raise after going 22 years without one.
The commission’s independent work was comprehensive and informed by contemporary salary models across the state as well as by the work of similar, past commissions. The commission compared salaries of elected county officials to New York State averages and examined salaries in counties of comparable size, determining what has worked elsewhere.
Their recommendations also scaled back the amount of any potential raises, settling on modest increases tied to the consumer price index in the future, which would eliminate the bi-annual political football game that this issue has become. In addition, while the group did not recommend raises for county officials such as legislators and the clerk, the raises it did support don’t take effect until the current term for each position expires.
Erie County needs a reasonable pay scale for elected officials that is cognizant of the job they do, the leadership they provide, and the responsibilities they have; not one that is over two decades old and does not reflect modern realities.
As a former chair of the Erie County Fiscal Stability Authority and chair of the commission, I urge the Legislature to do the right thing by adopting these recommendations so Erie County can continue to attract good leaders.
Robert M. Glaser, CPA