The new Nassau County Legislature Presiding Officer, Republican Peter Schmitt, has proposed and passed raises that average 42% for himself, the Democratic Minority Leader Diane Yatauro, and the Republican Deputy Presiding Officer John Ciotti. Schmitt will now make $99,500, Yatauro $90,500, and Ciotti $84,500. (Yatauro has said she will refuse the raise, or donate it to charity if legally obliged to accept it, while Legislator Ciotti has been silent.)
These raises are appalling not only because the Republicans ran on a platform of cutting Nassau County government excess, but because the County has yet to act on reinstating its contribution to LI Bus, which was cut by $1.4 million during budget negotiations last fall. Over the past year, LI Bus riders have faced the prospect of fare hikes and/or service cuts an unprecedented three times. As of right now, LI Bus is preparing to eliminate 13 bus lines.
New County Executive Ed Mangano was not exactly supportive of the raise. In a statement, his spokesperson said that “this decision was made by the Legislature, and we have no control over that body. In the executive branch, the county executive has cut salaries from the levels of the prior administration. These are not times for inflated salaries.”
Are we to believe that Presiding Officer Schmitt and Legislator Ciotti are more hard pressed for cash than bus riders who make, on average, $22,000 a year? Do bus riders not work as hard as part-time legislators who will now be earning nearly $100,000 a year?
Image: Nassau County Legislature.