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Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoes Nassau County union ‘step’ raise bill

The governor says he vetoed legislation because control boards such as NIFA need ability to “restore fiscal order” to local governments.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a 2017 Regional Economic Development Councils Awards ceremony in Albany, N.Y., on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017. Photo Credit: Tim Roske

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has vetoed a bill that would have allowed some public employees in Nassau County to receive “step” raises even when county wages are frozen.

The bill pitted public-employee unions against the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, the state-imposed county financial control board, over the issue of “step raises,” or salary hikes based on time on the job.

Assemb. Earlene Hooper (D-Hempstead) shepherded the bill through the State Legislature in the waning days of the legislative session in June.

But Cuomo, a Democrat, nixed the measure.

Control boards such as NIFA are intended to “restore fiscal order” to local governments, Cuomo noted in a veto message issued Tuesday. The Hooper bill would undermine NIFA’s authority, the governor wrote.

“Such a precedent-setting alteration of NIFA’s wage freeze authority would likely open the door for similar statutory modifications to the other presently governing control boards in the state, and curtail the abilities of any new control board that may need to be created in the future,” Cuomo wrote.

The Civil Service Employees Association and police unions had supported the bill. Neither CSEA nor Hooper immediately commented.

NIFA had urged Cuomo to veto the bill.

“It’s important that the powers granted by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority (NIFA) enabling statute remain intact in order for the board to fulfill its mission to protect the state and county,” NIFA Chairman Adam Barsky said in a statement. “We agree with the governor.”

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