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County legislators urge state to pay for DA salary increase

DAN GUZEWICH, Staff writer
Posted 5/24/16

Oneida County lawmakers are objecting to a state-mandated 20 percent raise for county district attorneys.The lawmakers say they don’t begrudge a pay increase for district attorneys — like Oneida …

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County legislators urge state to pay for DA salary increase

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Oneida County lawmakers are objecting to a state-mandated 20 percent raise for county district attorneys.

The lawmakers say they don’t begrudge a pay increase for
district attorneys — like Oneida County’s Scott D. McNamara — however they want the state government to pay for the hike because it was implemented at the state level earlier this year — after the county’s budget was adopted.

Counties across New York have been issuing calls to the governor and state legislators to cover this statewide $1.6 million expense.

“We’re not denying our district attorney a raise, we’re simply saying that this is an unfunded mandate and the state should pick up the cost,” said Board Chairman Gerald J. Fiorini, R-7, Rome.

Fiorini is the primary sponsor of a petition sent to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and other state officials outlining their objections and endorsing legislation requiring the state to pay for the increase in district attorney salaries.

The petititon’s cosponsors also include fellow legislators Richard A. Flisnik, R-8, Marcy, Robert Koenig, R-11, Whitestown, and Michael B. Waterman, R-5, Camden.

State Sen. Thomas F. O’Mara’s bill directs the Department of State to reimburse each county the difference in the annual compensation and the amount of the pay increase for district attorneys’ salaries.

In upstate, the increase amounts to about $30,000 for each DA, according to local officials.

Among the state senators that are cosponsoring the measure
is Joseph A. Griffo, R-47,
Rome.

The one-house bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration. 

There is no companion bill in the Assembly, which means, practically speaking, the bill likely isn’t going anywhere.

The raise was enacted as part of the 2016-17 state budget.

According to O’Mara, the state has paid for every district
attorney salary increase mandated on counties for more than
50 years. 

On April 1, the state approved a recommendation from the state Commission on Legislative, Judicial and Executive Compensation to increase Supreme Court judge salaries to $193,000 in 2016.

County Court judges were also placed at 95 percent of a Supreme Court judge’s salary, officials said.

State judicial law requires that district attorney salaries are equal to or higher than the County Court judges or Supreme Court judges.

There are future raises as well, oficials added.

The county budget lists McNamara’s salary as $159,900, a figure that doesn’t reflect the state’s April 1 increase.

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