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Letter: Kudos to the Mayor and Trustees

[Editor’s Note: The following letter was written in response to a letter to the editor written by Tom Lamberti, entitled “Our Executive Staff, ”which was published in the Dec. 29 edition of Garden City Life.]

Former Village Trustee Tom Lamberti’s position on compensation for village employees is a real head-scratcher. Mr. Lamberti vigorously objects to a modest, annual 1.5 percent wage increase for the lowest-paid village employees. Yet, on the other hand, he attacks the current trustees for asking our highest-paid managers to start contributing to the cost of their health insurance.

Mr. Lamberti doesn’t think our trustees are being “fair,” but all across the country cities and states are asking employees for larger contributions for health benefits and pensions. Governor Cuomo just raised to 27 percent from 25 percent the required contribution by retired state employees for their family health-insurance premiums. (Source: The Chief, Jan 6, 2012). In contrast to the governor, our trustees are only asking our village executive staff to start making a 15 percent contribution to the cost of their health insurance.

Mr. Lamberti laments that our seven senior executives haven’t had a raise in the past few years, but he fails to note that four of the seven village managers are collecting a sizable state pension while also drawing down a salary. Reportedly, some of the lifetime pensions are for more than $100,000 a year. Add that to a six-figure salary — along with a village car — and there is absolutely no reason, Mr. Lamberti, why the senior executives of our village should not be contributing less than about $3,000 a year for their health insurance.

Last month, Nassau County laid off or demoted several hundred employees. In November, another 175 employees lost their jobs at the Nassau University Medical Center. Instead of layoffs or demotions, our trustees are asking village executives to start contributing to the cost of their health-insurance, freezing managerial wages, cutting overtime, reducing travel and holding off the purchase of some non-essential equipment.  

We applaud Mayor Donald Brudie and Trustees Andrew Cavanaugh, Brian Daughney, Dennis Donnelly, John DeMaro, Nick Episcopia, Larry Quinn and John Watras for maintaining high quality village services while controlling costs. And costs are controlled when everyone — including the senior managers —does their part to maintain the village’s fiscal health.

Leo Stimmler
Christine Mullaney
Jerie Newman