Raises for Erie County Elected Officials?

Commission recommends pay hikes for county executive, comptroller and sheriff

Tom Puckett
October 12, 2018 - 4:00 am
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Buffalo, NY (WBEN) This week, the Citizens Salary Review Commission recommended pay increases for three elected Erie County officials. Erie County Executive, comptroller and sheriff have not received pay hikes since 1996.

The commission recommended 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. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says the system is out of whack. "The vast majority of commissioners make substantially more than I do, the deputy county executive makes more than the county executive. The deputy comptroller makes a lot more than the comptroller, the deputy undersheriff makes substantially more than the sheriff," says Poloncarz. "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." He says it hurts in recruitment of candidates.

The Erie County Legislature has one year to approve the proposed pay hikes. Joe Lorigo is unsure about voting in favor. "I think the biggest issue is raising elected officials' salaries 15 to 20 percent when the general public isn't seeing similar increases," says Lorigo.

Lorigo dismisses the notion the raises are just a drop in the bucket. "The reality is, every penny counts. If you take the attitude that this is a small amount that won't have an effect, that's how you get budgets that are out of control and a reason to increase taxes in the future, and I'm just not going to do that," explains Lorigo. He says the budget has grown by millions over the past seven years.

Raises would not go into effect until the next term.

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