November 15, 2016

Meanwhile Back in Albany (v8)

Nathaniel Brooks/NY Times
Oh, how the plot has thickened!

It seems the Commission on Legislative, Judicial and Executive Compensation has come to a stalemate and it appears there will be no pay raise this year.

When we last touched base on this in v7, I had suggested that whatever raise was decided, it should be implemented exactly the same as the increase in the minimum wage - higher and faster for NYC and immediate areas, much slower (and likely not ever reaching the NYC rate) for Western NY, Central NY, Northern NY and the Southern Tier.  I thought that was a great plan, and I actually submitted it to the commissions.

As I noted in v5 of this series, Fran Reiter, one of our Sonofa Gov's appointees on the Commission, has long been asking for reasons why the raise was needed, either form legislature leaders or members since some had said they had no interest in one, especially in an election year.  She had also been concerned with the ethical challenges that had been identified in the Leg, including the convictions of Shelly Silver and Dean Skelos.

Today, Reiter indicated she would not go along with the increase absent action from the Leg on ethics.
We believe the opinion of the public is entirely relevant, if not determinative. Because the public is, in the truest definition of the word, the employer. Obviously the employer's view on the employee performance and merit is incredibly important.
A vote was called in the meeting, when Reiter and Cuomo appointee Robert Megna abstained, along with judicial appointee Bart Crozier, the deal was done. Without a fully representative majority, and with a statute that required a decision no later than November 15, there was nothing left to be done.

Showing great collaboration and a unified front, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan issued a joint statement.
It is unfortunate that the Governor's appointees to the New York State Commission on Legislative, Judicial and Executive Compensation once again felt the need to demand legislative action in exchange for an increase in compensation. This is completely unacceptable and far exceeds the mandate of the Commission, which was to evaluate the need for an increase in compensation based primarily on economic factors.
I'm actually somewhat torn with this outcome. While I too had a hard time thinking about giving everyone a giant raise in one fell swoop, given they already make substantially more than the median income in New York, and since many members are fairly new to the Leg, they shouldn't be eligible for what was, in effect, to be make up pay, I was looking forward to what the Commission would ultimately recommend, and more selfishly, if they would consider an implementation plan that exactly mirrored the ones the same Legislature put into effect for struggling New Yorkers.

Sadly, we'll never know.