MONTICELLO, NY — “Some of these people are doing three and four different jobs now, and you’re asking them to take a pay cut?” asked District Two Legislator Nadia Rajsz of …
MONTICELLO, NY — “Some of these people are doing three and four different jobs now, and you’re asking them to take a pay cut?” asked District Two Legislator Nadia Rajsz of Chairman Robert Doherty at a June 5 special meeting of the Sullivan County Legislature.
Rajsz was questioning a recent announcement that, in order to tackle the roughly $20 million 2020 budget deficit, county management/confidential employees will receive a four-percent reduction in their annual salaries. Sullivan County Manager Josh Potosek, who is also taking a pay cut, sent an email to employees about the cuts on June 5. Since the county furloughed employees in April to reduce costs, managers and department heads have had to assume the workloads of those furloughed. That means doing multiple jobs, in addition to increases in workload, work hours and, in some cases, number of workdays. At least one manager at the care center must now work additional days to provide adequate care for the center’s patients.
Rajsz also questioned the timing of the proposal. “We’ve known since April that the state has a budget shortfall due to the pandemic shutdown, so why was this item slipped into the agenda without prior knowledge and discussion by the whole legislature? We have meetings every Wednesday, why should four of us have to find out about it at 4 p.m. the day before?”
Rajsz demanded to know how much money will be saved if the proposed four-percent reduction in managers’ salaries is enacted for the period from July 1 to December 31, 2020. County manager Josh Potosek’s answer: $190,000, not counting the salaries of elected officials.
By law, the salary of an elected official cannot be changed during a current term of office without the express consent of the official. The following elected officials have voluntarily agreed to the proposed salary decrease: Sullivan County Treasurer, District Attorney, County Clerk, Sheriff, District 1 Legislator, District 3 Legislator, District 4 Legislator, District 5 Legislator, District 9 Legislator. The remaining legislators, who were unaware of the proposal until the day before the meeting, may also choose to accept the recommended salary cut.
Under the terms of the proposal, all full-time management confidential employees would be credited with five personal leave days to remain in effect through the end of their county service or until exhausted.
Rajsz requested that the proposal be discussed in executive session. The legislature adjourned into executive session with the understanding that the outcome of that discussion will be made public at the legislature’s next regularly scheduled meeting on June 18.
Already on the draft agenda for the June 16 meeting is a public statement by the legislature, requested by Rajsz, regarding its stance on racial equality in the wake of an incident of racism caught on video in the Village of Monticello's Department of Public Works.
Before it adjourned, the legislature quickly, unanimously and without discussion approved resolutions to return properties seized for unpaid taxes to owners whose taxes have since been paid; create two additional positions in the department of motor vehicles; and set a public hearing date—July 18 at 9:40 a.m.—for a proposed local law that would incorporate 2020 amendments to the county’s Ethics Law.
The June 5 special meeting, as well as its agenda and resolutions, can be viewed at www.bit.ly/scjune5meeting.
The June 18 meeting is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.