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Pay raise commission recommends raises for three Erie County officials

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Pay raises may be in the future for three elected officials in Erie County.

The Citizens Salary Review Commission released its final report on Tuesday. It recommends raises for the county executive, comptroller, and sheriff.

Four years ago, the commission recommended raises for the county executive, comptroller, sheriff, and clerk. The suggestions were rebuffed by the legislature.

The time around, commissioners are recommending that the county executive's salary rise from $103,248 to $118,376, the comptroller's salary rise from $80,613 to $94,037, and the sheriff's salary rise from $79,092 to $89,343.

The commission declined to recommend pay raises for Erie County legislators or the county clerk. None of the county's elected officials have seen a pay raise since 1996. The district attorney is excluded from this process because his salary is set by judiciary law.

Read more about the commission here.

Additionally, the report recommended annual pay raises for the county executive, comptroller, sheriff, and clerk based on the consumer price index.

The proposals now go to the legislature, which has one year to vote on them.

"I would hope that they all have an open mind, read our report, and look at the data given. They guided us in the data analysis," said Laurie Buonanno, chairwoman of the commission. "We did meet with them. We told them what we had in mind. They told us what they had in mind."

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz also hopes lawmakers take a close look at the numbers.

"My commissioners and my assistants, they've all gotten raises," said Poloncarz. "They do get raises because it's based off the contract. If CSEA gets a raise, they get a raise. But the elected officials have not."

But Legislator Joe Lorigo, the minority leader, said he was skeptical that politicians salaries should be raised by 15 percent, when the general public is not seeing those increases.

"Raising elected officials' salaries is something that deserves careful consideration," Lorigo said. "After reviewing the raises recommended by the review board, I am willing to keep an open mind and hear more about their proposal."

A public hearing on the recommendations must be held before lawmakers vote on them. There's no word when that might take place.

Read the report here.


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