Pay raises given to elected officials in North Hempstead, approved in 2013 weeks after the budget had passed and while a lame-duck interim supervisor finished out his term, have emerged as a campaign issue this fall.
The town board's Democratic majority in December 2013 approved $9,000 in annual raises for council members bringing their salary to $49,000. The 4-2 vote, along party lines, drew heated conversation during public hearings.
The plan was unveiled in November 2013 -- less than two weeks after Judi Bosworth was elected the new supervisor and several council members won re-election. The vote took place a month before Bosworth took office, and the board's two Republicans argued that the pay raises should be considered after Bosworth, then a Nassau County legislator, was to take office on Jan. 1.
The original plan, unveiled in November 2013, was to increase the town board members' salaries by $15,000, to $55,000. But the board, at the December meeting, voted to drop the hike to $9,000.
The town supervisor, receiver of taxes, and three council seats are up for election next month.
"I can tell you unequivocally that any time my colleagues on the board want to roll back that pay raise, I'm 100 percent with them," Dina De Giorgio, a Republican councilwoman, said during a recent debate moderated by the League of Women Voters of Port Washington-Manhasset.
Her opponent, Democrat Emily Beys of Sands Point, said, "I don't even know what the pay is, so I can't even say if I would take it or not. This is something I see as a service to the community."
In 2013, the receiver of taxes post saw a 27.8 percent raise, bringing the salary to $115,000 a year, and the town clerk's salary to $105,000, an increase of 25 percent. The clerk also receives a $10,000 stipend for serving as the town's registrar of vital statistics, which was not changed.
Bosworth, as supervisor-elect, sent a letter that December to acting Supervisor John Riordan, a Democrat who succeeded Jon Kaiman after his September resignation. Bosworth urged Riordan to cancel the proposed $5,000 increase for the supervisor salary, which was not included among the raises.
Town spokeswoman Carole Trottere said Monday: "The supervisor has stated that this budget contains no raises for elected officials and there will be no raises proposed in 2015 or 2016."