Underpaying the treasurer’s staff?

And more notes from the Sullivan County Legislature

By LIAM MAYO
Posted 12/7/21

MONTICELLO, NY — With 2022 and its budget just around the corner, the Sullivan County Legislature has been holding special meetings to review the budgetary needs of the county’s various …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Underpaying the treasurer’s staff?

And more notes from the Sullivan County Legislature

Posted

MONTICELLO, NY — With 2022 and its budget just around the corner, the Sullivan County Legislature has been holding special meetings to review the budgetary needs of the county’s various departments.

In one such meeting, on Tuesday, November 30, county treasurer Nancy Buck spoke about the employees in her office.

“My budget is cheap, because we try to work with what’s in the group,” said Buck. “But I did want to bring up something that I think is a disparity.”

Buck said that the non-union employees in her office had been operating with the understanding that no raises would be made until after a county-wide salary study had been completed. Despite that understanding, there were quite a few raises penciled in to the 2022 budget.

And raises aside, there were additional significant disparities between positions that disadvantaged her employees. A senior fiscal administrative officer working in the treasurer’s office made $79,148 in 2021, said Buck, pointing to figures in the 2022 tentative budget. The same title earned $95,442 in the sheriff’s office.

“It’s very upsetting to my staff,” she said.

Legislators appeared open to making salary adjustments for cases with such a wide disparity, with legislator Michael Brooks requesting specific amendments for consideration.

“I think these meetings are great,” said legislator Ira Steingart. “They’re certainly going to bring out things that we need to reconsider.”

Steingart offered a note of caution, saying that the county was at the tax cap, and that “if we’re going to be starting to give things, we’re going to have to start taking things away.”

Responsibilities and remuneration

Reporting on the budget for the sheriff’s office in the same November 30 meeting, undersheriff Eric Chaboty focused on the department’s equipment needs.

The department had budgeted six replacement vehicles for 2022, Chaboty said, to keep up with its standard replacement schedule. Patrol cars lasted two years on average, with detective and civil vehicles lasting five and prison vans lasting seven, he added.

Legislative discussion centered on the sheriff’s salary, and the disparity between it and those of his employees.

Legislator Luis Alvarez, himself formerly a lieutenant with the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department, said that the sheriff’s salary should be a little bit higher, to account for the scope of his duties.

As a first-line supervisor, the sheriff was responsible for the actions of his people, even if he wasn’t on duty when those actions occurred, said Alvarez. “We get challenged and we get sued and we go to court with our men,” he said, adding that the sheriff’s salary should be higher than those of his employees as compensation for that responsibility.

Alvarez proposed that the sheriff be paid at least $115,000.

The committee passed a resolution to set the sheriff’s salary at $110,000, agreeing to discuss amending that figure at the December 16 full legislative meeting.

Honoring Bonnie Lewis

At the Thursday, December 2 meeting of the government services committee, Malinda Ware, the program director at Cornell Cooperative Extension, took time to honor Bonnie Lewis for her service.

Lewis had worked as a dependent care educator at Cornell’s Caregiver Resource Center (CRC), providing information and resources to support the care of ill, aging or frail individuals, and was retiring after 22 years.

Brooks presented Lewis with a certificate from the Sullivan County Legislators in appreciation of her service in improving the lives of those both in and out of Sullivan County. “You have been a source of knowledge and inspiration and joy to everyone.”

“It’s been a blessing, I’ve been very lucky,” said Lewis. “Twenty-two years has flown by.”

Lewis said that she had been a pediatric nurse for 18 years before coming to the CRC, and that the opportunity had allowed her to grow into it, to learn about geriatrics, and to meet the seniors in the community. “I left the four walls in the hospital [for] the borders of Sullivan County.”

During the committee’s public comment section, Sullivan County residents offered their tributes as well, including Liberty resident Martha Scoppa, who said that she had worked with Lewis, and had found her to be a wonderful colleague and someone who would be missed.

Comments

No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here