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Dobie: Hempstead's underhanded plan to increase officials' salaries

Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray speaks to the

Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray speaks to the Long Island Business Council in Farmingdale. (May 9, 2013) Credit: Howard Schnapp

Here we go again.

Another Long Island town is considering salary increases for elected officials — a month after the 2013 elections. Hempstead Town proposed last week to increase salaries for Supervisor Kate Murray and the other six town board members.

Newsday’s editorial board on Monday criticized a similar move in North Hempstead to give raises to the same seven positions in that town. Nice to see that such underhandedness cuts across party lines — Hempstead is controlled by Republicans, North Hempstead by Democrats.

In both cases, the issue is not the merit of the proposed increases or their size. It’s the timing. In Hempstead, Supervisor Kate Murray and three of the other six board members were up for re-election on Nov. 5. Whether or not they deserve raises should have been debated before then, as part of the budget process. Their votes on the subject should have been part of the record judged by town residents when they went to the polls.

It strains credulity to think that the issue of a salary increase only arose after the election. Proposing it now was a political calculation, pure and simple, and it stinks.