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Suffolk lawmakers debated for nearly a half hour last week over a bill that calls for them to take a voluntary wage freeze.
Backers said it sent a needed signal union concessions are needed; foes said it was pandering because every lawmaker already can freeze his salary on his own.
In fact, county records show only GOP legis. Thomas Cilmi has frozen his salary since taking office in 2011 — he is being paid a the 2010 legislative pay rate of $91,167 rather than the current salary of $93,958.
However, Legis. Steve Stern put out a press release days after the vote touting himself as “voting to volunarily freeze his own salary through Dec. 31, 2013.”
When called, Stern said he has not informed the comptroller of his intention to participate and he is waiting for the correct forms to be developed. Stern’s vote also does not affect this year’s $1,761 pay raise which he accepted last January and his freeze will not take effect until lawmakers are eligible for another cost of living raise at the beginning of next year.
In 2009 Legis. Edward Romaine(R-Center Moriches), Kate Browning (WFP-Shirley) and Presiding officer William Lindsay(D-Holbrook) all took a one year pay freeze.
All lawmakers, like other county workers. are also participating in the county’s current lag payroll, which runs through November. That puts off payment for a two week pay period until they leave county employment, at which time they will paid at their departing salary rate.