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Islip Town Board OKs guaranteed raises for elected officials

Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter, left, watches as Councilwoman

Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter, left, watches as Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt, speaks against the resolution before the Islip Town Board to vote themselves a pay raise during a town board meeting in Islip, March, 8, 2016. Credit: Ed Betz

The Islip Town Board on Tuesday approved a resolution to give elected officials annual salary increases tied to the Consumer Price Index for the region, with a guarantee that the cost-of-living raises will be no more than 4 percent each year.

The resolution to increase salaries each year passed in a 3-2 vote with councilmembers John Cochrane and Steve Flotteron, and supervisor Angie Carpenter in favor. Board members Trish Bergin Weichbrodt and Mary Kate Mullen voted against the measure.

The last time town board members received a raise was in 2007, when their salaries increased 2.6 percent. The current annual salaries are $102,500 for the town supervisor and $77,200 for trustees.

The vote came after a public hearing held during the board’s regular meeting at Town Hall Tuesday afternoon.

At the hearing, Central Islip resident Franz Bacon told the board that if elected officials want raises, they should be more forthcoming. “If you want a raise just vote yourself a raise. Stand up and say ‘I think I deserve a raise,’ ” he said. “This is a back-door way.”

Lawrence Kelly of Bayport said he supported the raises as an enticement to attract new life to Islip’s politics. “If you want the best and the brightest to be town board members,” he said, “you have to have a salary structure that is at least commensurate with the level of responsibility.”

East Islip resident Kathy Ewart said the timing of the proposed raises was unfortunate, given the town’s pending expenses from the clean-up and remediation of 50,000 tons of toxic debris dumped at Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood.

She cited Carpenter’s previous statement to Newsday that the raises would align town officials’ salaries with those of officials in nearby communities, but said, “This is not the time to bridge the gap by giving yourselves raises. People are concerned about the effects from the aftermath of the dumping mess at Roberto Clemente Park. Someone has to pay for this, right?”

Estimates of the cost of cleanup at the park and at three other locations under investigation by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office range between $1.4 million and $3 million. Carpenter has vowed to sue the ultimate responsible parties to recoup the cost of the cleanup.

After the vote, Bergin Weichbrodt told the board she would not accept the raise and would instead donate the extra money to Meals on Wheels. Flotteron echoed the sentiment by donating his raise to the Islip animal shelter’s non-profit arm Live.Love.Bark. Dog Rescue.

Flotteron noted that the raise was less than the negotiated raises for the town’s blue-collar and white-collar workers.

The resolution also includes a provision for the town clerk’s salary to rise to $85,000 from $76,800 for this fiscal year.

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