Nassau County Legislator Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury), Minority Leader Diane Yatauro (D-Glen Cove) and the other members of the Democratic caucus this week called upon County Executive Ed Mangano to find a way to stop a 47% raise that Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt gave himself on January 25, just three weeks into his term as new leader of the legislature. Minority legislators joined with various responsible government advocates at a press conference this week to urge Nassau residents to contact the County Executive at 516-571-3131 and say “Stop the Raises!”
“I don’t know one person who goes into public service to make money…except Peter Schmitt,” said Legislator Jacobs.
“I am calling on County Executive Ed Mangano today to direct the County Attorney to put a stop to Schmitt’s shameless spending on himself,” said Minority Leader Yatauro.
“If this is what the Republicans do after just three weeks in charge, what can we expect three months from now? They obviously have their eyes on their own wallets, rather than the taxpayers’,” said Legislator Jacobs. “With high unemployment and our County facing a budget gap of up to $38 million, a 47% raise for Peter Schmitt seems unconscionable.”
Base pay for all legislators is $39,500. That salary is set by the County Charter and must be amended for all legislators to get raises. The three leadership positions receive a stipend and that is what Presiding Officer Schmitt has increased. His stipend increased from $28,000 to $60,000, making his total salary now $99,500; the deputy presiding officer’s total salary grew from $62,500 to $84,500 and the minority leader position went from $63,500 to $90,500.
The resolution for the pay raise was put on the Legislature’s calendar at the last minute yesterday, with no public notice. It was approved along party lines with all 11 Republicans voting in favor and the 8 Democrats voting against the salary increase. Minority Leader Yatauro has already stated that she will not accept the pay raise or, if forced by law to accept it, she will give the money to charity.
In addition, Minority Leader Yatauro said she skeptical that the raise was passed legally and is considering legal action.
This is the second time that Schmitt has raised salaries. Previously he raised the salaries of several key staff members, including his counsel, his finance director and his press secretary a week after the 2009 election.
Groups attending the press conference in support of the call to halt the raises included members of Roll Back the Raises; members of various Nassau County Tea Party groups; and the Nassau County Civic Association.