Thousands of cases, four ADAs: But at least their pay is sorted

By ANNEMARIE SCHUETZ
Posted 10/27/21

MONTICELLO, NY — This time, the audience was larger and full of law enforcement.

The October 21 meeting of Sullivan County’s Legislature saw dozens of resolutions passed, all …

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Thousands of cases, four ADAs: But at least their pay is sorted

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MONTICELLO, NY — This time, the audience was larger and full of law enforcement.

The October 21 meeting of Sullivan County’s Legislature saw dozens of resolutions passed, all unanimously. But law enforcement members from the Village of Liberty, among others, were there for only one of those concerns.

The discussion around the number of, and salaries of, DA Meagan Galligan’s small staff of ADAs finally came to a close. Alan Sorensen kicked it off with a suggested amendment—to delete the paragraph about cost of living increases (COLAs) for the ADAs.

Before that, there was fiery public comment that supported the DA, followed by accusations of sexism and a response that those accusations were actionable.

In any case, after suggesting his amendment, Sorensen offered Galligan a chance to speak. The DA thanked the law enforcement officers from Liberty, Monticello and Fallsburg, plus former DA Steve Lungen, former judge Anthony Kane and attorney Ed Cooke, who were supporting her because of “the position my office has been put in by this legislature.”

She explained her concerns about the COLAs. On certain work anniversaries, four junior ADAs are supposed to receive a two percent increase as part of the payment agreement. Would they then be denied the similar two percent cost-of-living-increase (which is given to most, if not all, the staff) in December?

“That is an insult,” she said, reminding legislators that two percent doesn’t keep up with inflation. And the workload is heavier. “We have four people doing the work of 10 [the number of ADAs in 2019].”

Verbal legislative support that ADAs would receive COLAs did not seem to be enough. Legislator Mike Brooks asked for clarification.

The ADAs are not part of the union, which negotiates COLAs for its members. However, said county manager Josh Potosek, managers get similar increases, which are not merit-based. “It doesn’t exist today, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do it,” he said, seeming to refer to Galligan’s concern.

“I’m embarrassed, to be quite frank,” legislator Ira Steingart, minority leader, said. “Let the public see how we vote today and let them take action in two years [in the ballot box], because I am embarrassed to be up here.”

Chairman Rob Doherty offered an explanation of the legislature’s stance; see his My View on page 7.

Nadia Rajsz suggested taking out the words “cost-of-living adjustment” from that part of the resolution. Sorensen agreed, adding, “My preference would be to not spend three hours debating this.”

He got his wish. An amendment to the resolution, following Rajsz’s idea, passed 9-0. The final vote also passed 9-0.

For Doherty’s explanation of the decision, see his My View.

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