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Legislature rejects pay raises for top elected officials

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Proposals from Erie County's Salary Review Commission for substantial pay raises for four of the county's top elected officials crashed and burned unanimously on the floor of the Legislature Thursday afternoon. Pay raises for county executive, comptroller, clerk and sheriff were voted on separately and rejected 11-0 each time. The commission proposals averaged increases of 22-percent and would have been the first raises in 18 years.

The commission cited that long lapse as a reason for the amount of the raises. No raises were suggested for legislators.

Legislature Chairman John Mills says the raises were too large.

"I think the recommendations from the review committee were substantially too high. I think they need to go back and do their homework and maybe orchestrate a different scenario to the public," Mills said.

Under the proposal, the Erie County Executive would receive a 22 percent raise, which would hike Mark Poloncarz's salary from $103,248 to $126,400. The county Comptroller would also receive a 22 percent increase from $80,613 to $98,750.

The Erie County Sheriff would see his salary go up by 29 percent from $79,092 to $102,400 and the county Clerk’s salary would increase 16 percent from $79,092 to $91,800.

Following the vote, Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw applauded the rejection.

"I'm thrilled that the Legislature rejected pay raises. We should not be getting a raise when families at home are getting nowhere near 20 percent raises. I've said all along, if a raise was given, I'd donate the difference to charity," Mychajliw said.

County Clerk Chris Jacobs, who won re-election on Tuesday, also went on record opposing an increase.

Legislators also accepted the recommendation from the Erie County Democratic Committee and appointed Len Lenihan as Democratic Elections Commissioner. The former Democratic county chairman replaces Dennis Ward, who resigned to run a successful race for State Supreme Court.

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