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Dems Ram North Hempstead Pay Hikes Through

Town council members to get 22.5 percent pay increase in 2014, other elected officials to receive more.

Interim North Hempstead Supervisor John Riordan listens at a public hearing in Manhasset, Dec. 10, 2013. (Credit: Rich Jacques)
Interim North Hempstead Supervisor John Riordan listens at a public hearing in Manhasset, Dec. 10, 2013. (Credit: Rich Jacques)
A resolution pushed through by North Hempstead town board Democrats Tuesday will significantly raise pay for elected officials, despite calls to delay the vote on the issue until a new supervisor takes over next month.

The pay hikes, instigated by interim Supervisor John Riordan in the final days of his brief tenure as an appointed official, will substantially increase salaries for council members, the town clerk and receiver of taxes. A $5,000 pay increase was also suggested for the supervisor position.

With the decision, pay for part-time town council members will be $49,000 next year, a 22.5 percent increase. The town clerk will receive a 25 percent pay increase to $105,00 per year. The receiver of taxes will be paid $115,000, a 27.8 percent hike.

Riordan was voted into office in October by other town council Democrats following the resignation of longtime Supervisor Jon Kaiman.

An amendment to Riordan's proposal was introduced Tuesday by Councilwoman Anna Kaplan, who requested $49,000 in annual pay for town council members — $6,000 less than what Riordan proposed.

By a 4-2 vote, Kaplan's amendment was approved along party lines following a lively public hearing in Manhasset.

Just before voting herself a hefty pay raise, Kaplan described town council service as "a labor of love." 

At the hearing, few residents questioned the need for discussion regarding salary increases which had not occurred in North Hempstead in nine years, but most criticized the hastiness of board members who would not delay the pay raise vote until after Jan. 1, when a new supervisor will take over.

In a letter read by Riordan at the hearing, Supervisor-elect Judi Bosworth broke weeks of media silence regarding the pay hike proposal, requesting that an amendment not include a proposed $5,000 raise for the supervisor's position.

Even without the pay raise next year, Bosworth is set to more than triple her salary as an elected official. She currently earns $38,500 working "full-time" as a Nassau County legislator. The longtime politician will make $133,000 as supervisor.

Some were not impressed with Bosworth's offer, or with the board's actions.

"What I hear is an incoming supervisor who wants to step away from this mess," said Albert Khafif of Westbury, who called the timing of the pay raises "disingenuous."

Donald Peshkin of Port Washington said with lots of people willing to run for office at the current pay rate, there is no reason for a pay increase.

"If any of you can't do your jobs in the way it's supposed to be done, at the salary you are getting paid now, I respectfully say step down," said Peshkin to board members.

Riordan said he requested the pay raises because North Hempstead salaries had fallen behind those in nearby towns like Huntington and Hempstead.

Residents countered, noting that officials from other towns are paid more because they represent more people per council member.

A large majority of the dozen or so residents who spoke asked that the vote be held over until Bosworth takes office.

"Let the new supervisor decide how to proceed," said Eric Zausner of Flower Hill.

Siding with Kaplan, one resident justified the need for a pay increase for "a labor of love," and a commitment. "And I think by all means you deserve to have the Town of North Hempstead catch up to where it belongs," said Dennis Grossman of Great Neck.

The $140,000 needed for the salary increases will come from the town's contingency fund.

Opposing a vote on the pay hikes before the new town board takes office next month, Republicans Dina De Giorgio and Angelo Ferrara dissented.

If the board were doing the "right thing," they would be voting unanimously in favor of a pay raise Jan. 7, said Ferrara. "But unfortunately, politics gets in the way and I hope you remember that."

"If we vote on this now, we risk losing the respect of the public," said De Giorgio. "Putting it over doesn't lose anything for us."

My Taxes Are Too Damn High December 11, 2013 at 05:33 AM
In other news, the number of middle class families that can afford to live in North Hempstead has dropped to 5.
Local Resident December 11, 2013 at 06:34 AM
What a disgraceful move by the Town BORED...it is a shame that we will not have the opportunity to vote out the (unelected) interim Supervisor. Thanks Ms. Kaplan for the $6k "giveback", glad it is a "labor of love", because I think at the new salaries there are going to be many people wanting each of your jobs. Also, a shameful move by Ms. Bosworth to hide out in silence when this was being introduced and voted on...your hands are still very dirty.
Arguendo December 11, 2013 at 07:23 AM
Disappointing, all around.
brigitte December 11, 2013 at 08:27 AM
By a 5-2 vote, Kaplan's amendment was approved along party lines . shame on them, shame, shame!!!!!
LONG TIME FLOWER HILL RESIDENT December 11, 2013 at 09:01 AM
Unbelievable!!! Their only quest that was their "labor of love" was the almighty buck. Next year, the residents should band together and vote in people that are more volunteers than money grabbers and keep doing the same each year until the whole board has volunteers like the Villages do.
Local Resident December 11, 2013 at 09:38 AM
By a 5-2 vote, Kaplan's amendment was approved along party lines...But, Mr. Ferrara (Republican), in voting against the measure, stated that "If the board were doing the "right thing," they would be voting unanimously in favor of a pay raise Jan. 7." So in effect he would vote FOR the raises on Jan. 7th, but not now? Mr. Ferrara should have kept quiet and let his "NO" vote speak for itself...he got a raise while voting against the measure, and then nullified his "NO" vote by saying the vote would have been unanimous on Jan. 7th. Now that's politics!
Craig Baines December 11, 2013 at 09:54 AM
"If we vote on this now, we risk losing the respect of the public," said De Giorgio. NEWSFLASH Dina has already lost respect of her community with her actions, words and deeds. This is evidenced by the ten plus point shellacking she took at the hands of her "beloved" Port Washington community by an unknown from a neighboring community. Additionally she was convincingly defeated in the council district as a whole which include the solid republican communities of the Plandomes and Flower Hill.
Diane Schubach December 11, 2013 at 10:19 AM
I too am getting a 22% raise at my job; oh, wait that's 2%, and I'm told we're lucky to get it as we didn't get one last year.
Vance DiGiovanni December 11, 2013 at 11:03 AM
VANCE DIGIOVANNI : As witness to the meeting , and hearing all sides , it was made clear that the council had not had a raise for 9 years. Something I did not know. Most reasonable people at the meeting agreed that a raise was long overdue. A few disgruntled folks disagreed on any raises. The council should not have let nine years go by. Lesson learned. Why there isnt a set policy in place for systematic raises is beyond me. This would eliminate politicians voting for their own raises. The press in their manipulative fashion of course focused on the percentage of the raise and not the nine previous years without it. Shame on them. The consensus from the public and two intelligent council members was to table it until the public could be better educated to understand the how and whys , which would increase voter confidence and most likely obtain majority backing. It would have been the right thing to do . And the raises would have gone thru in a less painful fashion. It all seemed like it was set up for Ms.Bosworth to take office and say that she didnt approve the raises on her watch , with the help of exiting interim supervisor. Credibilty in the system back to square one.....
Stan Bratskeir December 11, 2013 at 11:06 AM
Craig Baines, I get the feeling that if you were asked if it was raining, you'd use it as an opportunity to criticize Dina DeGiorgio. Your issues with her are obviously intensely personal and mean-spirited. Unlike you, Dina attaches her real name to everything she says or believes in. If you have a legitimate beef, why not come out from behind the screen?
Rich Jacques (Editor) December 11, 2013 at 12:31 PM
Vance, you said: "Why there isnt a set policy in place for systematic raises is beyond me." ... At Tuesday's meeting, GOP Councilman Angelo Ferrara said he proposed such a policy several years ago which was voted down by the Democrat-controlled board.
bob young December 11, 2013 at 01:14 PM
This is outrageous! These servants of the people should be paid zero, nada zilch! If they want to serve then do it to serve. The guys that actually do something, e.g., snow plowing should be paid, but certainly not the elected officials. We should be storming the buildings on Plandome Road, and shutting down the place. Lot's of money being paid for very little value.
bob young December 11, 2013 at 01:17 PM
Actually Vance, it was not a raise that was needed, but a cut to zero, zilch, nada. bukus compensation. This is a non-job job. They show up and vote from time to time, and campaign for re-election from time to time. Would you expect to be paid if you were a member of your elementary schools HSA? I think not dude!
Local Resident December 11, 2013 at 01:22 PM
It is immaterial that they have not had a raise in 9 years, or 20 years for that matter...each member of the Town BORED chose to run for the position and knew what the salary was in advance of being elected. They knew what they were to be paid for the position and are not entitled to any raise in any amount.
bob young December 11, 2013 at 01:28 PM
Actually Local Resident, for the amount of time they put in it comes to more than $1000/hr. The salary should be set at zero, zilch nada! a town of our size should not be paying anything to town council members.
Local Resident December 11, 2013 at 01:43 PM
Actually I don't agree that they should be paid nothing. But to give themselves such a large percentage raise and considering the timing and process by which the raises were introduced and approved is ludicrous. It is a thankless job, with many critics (including me) and very little praise...but it is a job that they chose to run for with a salary they knew about. The issue seems to be that those who have been Town BORED members for multiple terms are now unhappy with what they are being paid and, more importantly, feel that they are entitled to the raises. This would never have been an issue if the entire Town BORED was newly elected.
Craig Baines December 11, 2013 at 02:05 PM
Re Stan Bratskeir be formally advised you are a sycophant and devotee of Dina in highest and first order, a cyber apologist. I speak truth to power and Dina is no good for PW or the ToNH, she is a tool of the developers and a functionary of her leader Republican Party Chairman Joseph Nestor Mondello. Additionally Dina's husband has sworn fealty to the aforementioned in his official capacity as Republican Executive Leader for Port Washington.
Stan Bratskeir December 11, 2013 at 02:10 PM
I think it's not whether the raise was justified; it was the sneaky way it was put through, with the belief (probably justified) that voters have short memories and that, somehow, the incoming Supervisor would be untouched by the criticism. It flies in the face of promises of transparency, consensus-building and cooperation that were planks of the Bosworth-Wink platform. Good Councilpeople who do their homework and advocate for their constituents are probably entitled to more money, but what this tactic says about promises that are broken so quickly after they're made is really disappointing. Not paying people properly -- or at all -- makes these jobs exclusive to those who don't need the money or just depend on favorable treatment as a result of holding office.
bob young December 11, 2013 at 03:03 PM
I don't believe those working as elected representatives of their "constituents" are ever entitled to pay or benefits, whether it be at the most local level or at the federal level. They should be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses only. That would do 2 things: 1) reduce the cost of government, and 2) make the governance process much more efficient.
Stan Bratskeir December 11, 2013 at 03:29 PM
In an ideal world that would be great, but from a practical standpoint, it eliminates from contention people who need to earn a living. So the only people who could afford to serve would be the independently wealthy or the crooked ones who pay-for-play.
Diane Schubach December 11, 2013 at 03:38 PM
Bob: Love your thinking, and I believe that was the way it was intended. People could work their "real" jobs and also serve. I don't believe that government service was meant to be a full-time job and a lifetime career. It would certainly also cut down on corruption and would be an organic way to impose term limits. I'm liking it.
Stan Bratskeir December 11, 2013 at 03:44 PM
Craig, if your fury about Dina is justified, why not identify yourself instead of hiding behind a made-up name? What are you afraid of? To me, you're abusing the right to free speech by spewing hatred this way.
hank ratner December 11, 2013 at 04:52 PM
I was there last evening. The Hollywood screen writers would have been proud. It was all scripted from newly elected Judy Bosworth's letter read by un-elected supervisor Riordan saying she would waive her raise, to Councilperson Kaplan offering an amendment lowering the proposed rate of salary increases, it was so transparent that this was a ploy to try and assuage the taxpaying publics anger not so much the raises per say, but rather the process. When vote time came, the un-elected supervisor was asked to recuse himself from the vote as he was NOT elected by the constituants, he refused stating that he was "elected" by the Town Board. Really! I was very proud of our local council person Dina Digiorgio who spoke truth to power and argued correctly that the vote should properly be held only after the new administration took office in January. To add more to this fiasco, council person Seeman told the audience (taxpayers) that she had received a large number of emails expressing their dismay at the proposal and thewithout pause said "I vote yes!" You had to be there to believe it! Bottom line, the people who spke with a couple of exceptions DID NOT object to salary increase but rather were outraged at the process. However, it all fell on deaf ears. Shame,Shame Shame! As a final note I would urge all of you who seem to show concern whether you identify yourself or not, to show up at future Town Board meetings and speak up!
Bob Persons December 11, 2013 at 05:17 PM
I have always understood that any vote to increase salaries or fees would not go into effect until the end of an elected officials term of office. Bob Persons
Port North Resident December 12, 2013 at 06:20 PM
Bob it is the end of their terms, the raises do not go into effect until January 1. Part of the issue that most are having with these raises is that the town did it in a lame duck session.
bob young December 12, 2013 at 09:45 PM
If elected officials were not paid, then that would never be an issue.
Roland A. Ericsson December 13, 2013 at 08:09 AM
I agree with PNR about the lame duck session, a bit clumsy. But as for the pay raises in themselves, who can work for no pay these days? If that was the premise for holding public office, only independently wealthy people would be able to run. Is that the way we want to be represented?

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