NORWICH – Five Chenango County supervisors, all but one a registered Democrat, contested the salary and benefit packages that will be awarded to county employees and themselves next year.
The average 3 and 4 percent raises for officers and department employees (depending on part-time or full-time) passed nonetheless by a vote of 16 to 5, with two supervisors absent from the board’s September meeting Monday. Those opposed were: James J. McNeil, D-City of Norwich; Rick E. Chase, D-Bainbridge; Peter C. Flanagan, D-Preston; James B. Bays, D-Smyrna; and Jerry L. Kreiner, R-Plymouth.
McNeil led the charge against the compensation package for an assistant attorney in the county attorney’s office. The part-time position would increase by 4 percent in addition to a special adjustment of $2,000 that, according to the personnel department, is intended to bring the county attorney’s office salaries in line with assistant counsel working in the public defender’s office. The position paid $26,000 in January and would pay $29,120 in 2009.
Though the new position was created in 2006 – and made for a total of three assistants for County Attorney Rich Breslin. McNeil said he couldn’t vote for the increase without knowing how many cases the attorney had assisted. He made a motion to eliminate the position from the compensation package to be voted on. Flanagan seconded it.
“This has been troubling me for some time, beginning last year. An additional job was created. I’m wondering if there is any way to explain his duties. Do we still really need it (the position)? Are there statistics on the numbers of court cases?” said McNeil.
Board Chairman Richard B. Decker, R-North Norwich, said the position was established in 2006 to answer “the burden” of cases in family court and for the Chenango County Code Enforcement Department. He said assistant attorneys work a varying number of days and hours and he believed his departmental directors “are paid well” and ask for staff and resources when necessary.