Sheriff's salary commission nears recommendation


By the end of the month — probably sooner — the commission reviewing the Monroe County sheriff's salary will make its recommendation to the County Legislature.

The commission, convened in haste earlier this month, met for the second time yesterday (see video of the meeting below). Members — four appointed by the Legislature's GOP majority and three by its Democratic minority — received a packet of research prepared by Lej Republican staff. Commission chair Robert Hurlbut asked members to review the research, which includes a list of sheriff salaries and sheriff's department sizes across New York, and to come to the next meeting prepared with recommendations. That meeting will happen at 4 p.m. on Monday, November 30.

Without any context, the research packet amounts to a bunch of figures. It shows that the Monroe County sheriff earns more than the Erie, Onondaga, and Albany County sheriffs, but less than the downstate Suffolk, Nassau, Westchester, and Rockland County sheriffs. The numbers also show that the Monroe County Sheriff's Office is smaller than the Suffolk and Erie departments, but larger than the rest.

Of course, Lej Democrats are suspicious of the whole commission. They say that it's perfunctory — a cover-your-butt way to give Republican Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn another pay raise. At yesterday's meeting, Democratic legislator and commission appointee Joe Morelle Jr. requested that the group interview the sheriff to discuss his thoughts on his salary. The request led to a testy exchange between Morelle and Hurlbut, who said that's not part of the commission's purview.

"The information you've requested doesn't make sense," Hurlbut said. "It's not going to happen."

O'Flynn has requested raises in previous county budgets. In 2011, the Legislature approved boosting his annual pay from $123,030 to $136,700. He also included a $37,000 pay raise in his 2014 budget request, but he and Legislature Republicans withdrew the request after public outcry.

County officials say that any recommendation would be incorporated into the 2017 budget, since the Legislature already has the 2016 budget proposal to review and vote on. Any change to the sheriff's pay requires the Legislature's approval.