Huntington Bay trustees reconsider salary plan
Huntington Bay Village trustees, after an outcry from residents, are reconsidering a proposal to pay themselves a salary and scrapping the idea for now.
"We will table the compensation issue for this year's budget in order to give the village residents more time to voice their opinion," Village Mayor Herb Morrow said.
But he was adamant that this is an issue he will continue to push, and that he believes residents will support some version of a compensation plan.
"We can take the time to develop a plan for next year's budget," he said.
A draft proposal of the $1.2 million 2013-14 budget -- no increase from last year's -- called for a $3,000-a-month salary with benefits for the mayor, $300 a month for trustees, $5,000 a year for the police commissioner, $2,500 a year the road commissioner, and $125 a month for zoning board of appeals members.
Morrow said he was able to avoid increasing the spending plan even while adding a new line item of $69,000 for board members and other officials' compensation because a police department restructuring last year saved about $175,000 in salaries.
At a special budget hearing Monday night before 14 residents at the Huntington Yacht Club, Morrow laid out his reasoning for municipal salaries, saying the job is like running a small business.
Trustees include the deputy mayor and roads commissioner Dennis Gai; Jay Meyer, Don Rave, and Dom Spada, who is also police commissioner.
There are 32 incorporated villages in Suffolk and Morrow said about 10 of them have paid boards. He said he works about 20 hours a month as mayor of the village of 600.
"My position on this topic has been consistent for the last 10 years," Morrow said. But several residents argued if the job is taking too much time, one should resign or perhaps the volunteer board should expand to spread out duties.
Deb Colton, a village resident for nine years and a former mayoral candidate, who attended Monday's meeting, said Wednesday that the board made the right decision to reconsider the plan.
"Due to the strong opinion of the community . . . not to include this in the budget at this time is a wise move," she said.
Morrow said Wednesday that after meeting with his board over the previous days, members decided if and when the idea is reintroduced, the benefits issue will be dropped completely and the numbers modified from this year's proposal.
Still, he said, "Mayors on Long Island should be compensated at some reasonable level for their work."