Last night the Chemung County Legislature passed a resolution by a vote of 10-5 to increase legislative salaries by 3%. Legislators Rick Madl, Marty Chalk, Bill Fairchild, Peggy Woodard and Paul Collins all voted against it.
During the meeting’s public comment period Tony Pucci, a retired English teacher who ran for a seat on the legislature in last November’s election, and I each spoke against the pay raises, arguing they are inappropriate at a time when our community is facing significant fiscal stress coupled with a declining population, and the combination of high salaries and benefits are inconsistent with other similarly situated counties in upstate New York. Prior to the vote, Legislator Madl also spoke against it, while Legislator Ken Miller argued the pay hike is justified.
Embedded below are videos of the remarks along with a copy of the resolution. As a side note, I will do my best to take videos at legislative meetings until such time that they are live-streamed and/or recorded and archived, something that can be done for a very low cost. I intend to strongly push for this kind of digital access after the new legislature is sworn in on January 1, 2019. An excellent article outlining why this issue is so important and how local governments can go about doing it is found here.
Remarks by Tony Pucci are first. My remarks begin at 4:24 preceded by a brief pause as we passed the phone between us.
Remarks by Legislators Madl and Miller followed by the vote on the resolution.
As always, you are encouraged to chime in here or on the Chemung County Matters Facebook page with your thoughts on these issues.