Hempstead Town Board considering pay raises

Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray speaks to the Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray speaks to the Long Island Business Council in Farmingdale. (May 9, 2013) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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The Hempstead Town Board is considering giving itself pay raises of $10,000 and $5,000 starting next year.

The proposed raises would increase Supervisor Kate Murray's salary to $160,000 from $150,000 per year, a 6.67 percent raise. The other six town board members would go from making $66,000 per year to $71,000, a 7.58 percent raise.

"Governing a township with a population greater than four states is complex and demands qualified professionals who deserve fair compensation for their work," town spokesman Michael Deery said in a statement, adding the supervisor and town board members haven't had a salary increase since early 2010.

Receiver of Taxes Donald Clavin's salary raise to $130,000 from $120,000 per year, about an 8.33 percent increase, was approved by the board Tuesday. The receiver's salary was last adjusted in 2009. Deery's pay hike to $188,886 from $182,886 was also approved.

"In the town budget it projects a zero percent increase," town critic Felix Procacci, of Franklin Square, a former supervisor candidate who lost on Nov. 5 to Murray, said at the town board meeting Tuesday. "The question is why wasn't that included in the projected amount?"

In response, Murray disputed at the meeting that the 2014 budget of $431.9 million did not include their projected salary increases. But the budget does not show projected increases for the salaries of the supervisor, council members or the receiver of taxes.

"There hasn't been an increase in over 4 years," Murray told Procacci.

Democratic leaders at the meeting denounced the proposal, pointing out the move comes after the general election.

"We think that the raise issue should be brought up to the people before the general election, so that they can voice their opposition or support for it," said Bob Young, Town of Hempstead Democratic Committee first deputy leader. "Why do we always do it after a general election? But it seems to be common practice."

At the meeting, Henry Boitel, president of the Rockville Centre Democratic Club, joined other town critics in requesting town board meetings be recorded to promote transparency.

"Make it more open and more transparent, so that the people really know what you are doing," Boitel said.

In response to inquiries about recording meetings, Murray said, "It is still being discussed."

The salary increase proposal is subject to a public hearing on Dec. 10 at 10:30 a.m. in the Nathan L.H. Bennett Pavilion, adjacent to Hempstead Town Hall.

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