NORWICH - Last week, first term Supervisor Fred J. Heisler, Jr. came closer than any county board member has before in an attempt to freeze annual salary increases for supervisors.
The Smithville representative said he would rather give his 2.5 percent raise to programs that help recovering addicts. He confessed that all seven newcomers to county government had “essentially been in training for a few months” since taking office in January, and didn’t deserve raises next year.
But neither did the trick; after a roll call vote, his proposed amendment to the 2013 compensation schedule failed to carry the weighted majority by 43 votes.
Raises for non-union government employees, particularly supervisors, is arguably the most hotly debated topic that the Chenango County Board of Supervisors address during budget-making time each year. This year marks the first that veteran Supervisor Peter C. Flanagan did not lead the charge against supervisors’ raises. The Preston Democrat, saying he wanted to “lead from the top” and “show a sacrifice whether it’s a token one or not,” has received more and more bi-partisan support over the years, and two years ago, narrowly missed slashing increases by 45 votes. Last year, a vote for Flanagan’s freeze was stalled and put off for another month after failing to reach a majority.