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Organization Aims to ‘Roll Back’ TOH Raises

Seeks to Put Raises on Election Ballot for Public Referendum

An organization plans on lobbying the Town of Hempstead Board to roll back raises that were granted recently by the board to Supervisor Kate Murray, Town Clerk Mark Bonilla and Town Board members.

Supervisor Murray’s salary increased from $140,000 to $150,000.

Bonilla’s salary increased from $95,500 to $106,500.

Each of the six board members saw their salaries increase from $61,500 to $66,000.

The organization, Roll Back the Raises, plans on submitting a petition to hold a public referendum on the raises to be put on the November 2, 2010 election ballot.

“In this time of great economic troubles for so many residents, our elected officials should be cutting taxes and preventing unnecessary future tax increases that force people out of their homes” said Robert Young of the Roll Back the Raises campaign. “We are organizing to oppose these raises and will let the voices of the people be heard.”

“People are being laid off or put on furlough, yet this body of government decides to increase their paychecks,” said Derek Donnelly of the campaign. “This pay raise will come out of the pockets of the taxpayer, and we are demanding this pay raise be put to the voter for approval.”

Murray, Bonilla and five of the six town board members are all Republicans and leaders of Roll Back the Taxes have ties to the Democratic Party. Young was the Democratic candidate for the Town of Hempstead 3rd District in 2007 and Matt Hynes, who is also with the Roll Back the Taxes campaign, ran in 2009 for the Town of Hempstead 6th District.

“Our elected officials work very hard and deserve to be compensated. The town has frozen taxes [in 2010] and actually cut spending by about 3 percent [in this year’s budget]. To suggest this government is anything but frugal is disingenuous,” said Town of Hempstead spokesperson Susan Trenkle-Pokalsky.

Pay raises for elected officials haven’t been limited to one party. Former county executive Tom Suozzi, a Democrat, received a $65,000 raise in 2008. North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman, a Democrat, was granted a $33,000 raise in 2005.

Just recently, the Republican leadership in the Nassau County Legislature granted raises to the Presiding Officer, Deputy Presiding Officer and Minority Leader (see story on Page 3 of this edition).