Hempstead board approves raises

The Hempstead Town board unanimously approved raises for The Hempstead Town board unanimously approved raises for the town supervisor and councilmembers at a board meeting Tuesday morning. (Dec. 10, 2013) Photo Credit: Aisha Al-Muslim

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The Hempstead Town board on Tuesday unanimously approved raises totaling $40,000 a year for the town supervisor and council members after an uneventful public hearing.

The board approved a measure that increases Supervisor Kate Murray's salary to $160,000 from $150,000 per year, a 6.67 percent raise. The salaries of the other six town board members would increase to $71,000 a year from $66,000, or 7.58 percent.

Murray and council members Anthony Santino, Gary Hudes and Dorothy Goosby -- who were re-elected last month -- would get their raises starting Feb. 1. The rest of the council members -- Angie Cullin, James Darcy and Edward Ambrosino -- would get it by late January, town spokesman Michael Deery said.

The resolutions approved by the board omitted the salary information and the payout dates.

"I thought it was very disingenuous that this came up after the elections," said Meta J. Mereday, of Baldwin, one of four speakers at the hearing where attendance could have been affected by the snowy weather.

"I am definitely opposed to this increase and I think that we should definitely stay with what we have at least until everybody is back on track. We as taxpayers need to have better transparency from our town officials in regards to decisions you are going to take."

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The salary increases would come from the $431.9 million budget for 2014 under a fund division called "salary adjustments," set aside to provide salary increases to town employees throughout the year, Deery said.

The supervisor and town board members haven't had a salary increase since early 2010 despite governing a town with a population of about 760,000, town officials said.

The supervisor for the Town of Huntington, with a population of about 203,300, makes $163,800 a year and each of its council members are paid $79,700. The city manager for Long Beach, with a population of about 33,500, makes about $152,000 a year, Deery said.

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"I am against this raise," said Richard Creeron, 87, of Valley Stream, a retired mechanical engineer who receives Social Security benefits. "You said you haven't had a raise in three years, which is terrible. Well, I haven't had a raise in 23 years."

After the hearing, Henry Boitel, president of the Rockville Centre Democratic Club, suggested that in the future the town create a citizen committee or put proposed board salary increases up for a ballot vote.

"I would suggest that you consider those possibilities," Boitel told the board.

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