The Islip Town Board is divided over a proposal to tie elected officials’ salary increases to the Consumer Price Index with a guarantee that raises will be no more than 4 percent each year.
Board members will hold a public hearing on establishing a salary schedule, including the yearly cost-of-living increase, to solicit public input.
The proposal calls for a pay schedule that increases salaries by a maximum of 4 percent or the amount of increase in the Consumer Price Index for the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island area, whichever is less. Currently, the price index is .12 per cent.
If approved, the annual cost-of-living increase would start next Jan. 1.
A resolution on the proposal also calls for an increase in the town clerk’s salary from $76,800 to $85,000 for this fiscal year.
The resolution will be discussed at the Tuesday board meeting at 2 p.m. in Town Hall, 655 Main St.
Town board members Mary Kate Mullen and Trish Bergin Weichbrodt voted at the Feb. 9 board meeting against scheduling the public hearing. Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter and board members John Cochrane and Steve Flotteron voted in favor of holding the hearing.
“They want to give themselves cost-of-living increases every single year,” Bergin Weichbrodt said after the vote. “I signed up for this job knowing exactly what it paid. Many of these people have second jobs ... I don’t believe anybody should be asking for raises, especially when our economy is still struggling.”
Carpenter defended the proposed increases as bringing the town up to standards across other municipalities.
“We have taken a good hard look at all salaries in the Town and have made adjustments to begin to bridge the gap that exists across the board when comparing salaries in Islip with other municipalities,” Carpenter said in a written statement. “The public hearing scheduled for Tuesday’s Board meeting would increase the salary of the Town Clerk effective this year, and institute a cost of living adjustment as is the practice in other municipalities to avoid situations where salaries weren’t increased in over 10 years.”
She noted that the Consumer Price Index currently trends well under the four percent cap.
“If passed, increases would be tied to the Consumer Price Index which today is .12% and would be capped at four percent if ever the CPI increases beyond that. This resolution does not increase this year’s salary for the Supervisor or Town Board members, but if it did, it would add $78 to the annual salary. If passed, it would take effect Fiscal Year 2017, and at any time, electeds could decline any increase,” she said.
The current salaries are $102,500 for town supervisor and $77,200 for trustees.