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NIFA to Nassau: Detail salaries, titles within 2 weeks

NIFA Chairman Jon Kaiman, center, during a meeting

NIFA Chairman Jon Kaiman, center, during a meeting of the NIFA board in Uniondale on Dec. 30, 2013. Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Nassau's financial control board Monday directed the county to provide revised budgets within two weeks that detail individual appointee salaries and titles for 2013 and 2014.

Members of Nassau Interim Finance Authority said they were taking the first step to ensure that a wage freeze imposed in 2011 has applied to all county employees.

Newsday reported this month that county elected officials gave raises worth $800,000 in salary and benefits to 57 appointees throughout the county; some also received job title changes. The officials cited a 2012 county attorney opinion that the wage freeze NIFA imposed applied only to unionized workers and not to appointees, who can be hired and fired at will.

NIFA chairman Jon Kaiman assured a crowd of about 100 union correction officers who attended yesterday's public NIFA meeting that the board intended the freeze to be applied uniformly.

"The wage freeze should apply to everybody," Kaiman said.

Kaiman has said, however, that promotions that include salary changes are not covered by the freeze. But he wants to avoid officials making an end run around the freeze by giving title changes as a way of raising salaries.

The NIFA board discussed the freeze, which is being challenged in court by county unions, behind closed doors for 11/2 hours Monday.

When they returned to public session, member Chris Wright offered the handwritten resolution that was approved by all six members present out of the seven-member board.

There was some disagreement among board members as to what the resolution called for but all agreed on the intent: "This is a good first step toward insuring that NIFA's intent in freezing wages is followed," Wright said.

The county comptroller estimates the freeze has saved Nassau $230 million through 2013. Union leaders have proposed contract concessions to lift the wage freeze, but no final deals have been reached.

Brian Nevin, a spokesman for County Executive Edward Mangano, said, "While each elected official must speak for their own payroll, the administration will provide the information . . . ."

Mangano has said that he has saved money by eliminating budgeted positions and giving the job duties to remaining appointees, whose salary increases are less than the cost of the eliminated positions.

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