Last night, County Legislature Democrats had a chance to question county officials about a proposed $37,000 raise for Sheriff Patrick O'Flynn. The Sheriff's Office is within the purview of the Legislature's Public Safety Committee.
But Dems help back. They appear to be holding their questions until the Lej's Ways and Means Committee meeting on Thursday, December 5; the public hearing on the budget will be held at the same meeting.
But Democrats did send out a press release yesterday denouncing the raise. They included a letter to County Executive Maggie Brooks requesting that O'Flynn appear at the Ways and Means meeting.
"Nobody in government deserves a $37,000 pay raise in one year while serving in the same position," Legislator Michael Patterson said in the press release. "This proposal is tone deaf and brain dead and should not be allowed to stand."
This isn't the first time a raise for O'Flynn has caused controversy.
In 2011, just as legislators were about to vote on the 2012 budget proposal, Republican Legislator Anthony Daniele proposed an amendment tying the sheriff's pay to the district attorney's, which is set by state law. At the time, Daniele said that O'Flynn requested the raise. Democrats objected to the timing, but did say they thought the proposal had merit. That raise pushed O'Flynn's salary from $123,030 to $136,700.
Messages left this morning for county and Sheriff's Office spokespersons were not immediately returned. A county spokesperson has told local media that O'Flynn requested the raise as part of his department's budget. Media are also reporting that O'Flynn won't publicly talk about the raise until the Ways and Means committee. But that leaves open questions about his reasoning. One issue that hasn’t been raised: his pay could, depending on when he chooses to retire, have an impact on his pension.
In the Democrats' press release, Patterson further criticized the raise, saying it's part of a budget that lays off county staff and cuts the county's funding for child day care subsidies for low-income families. The sheriff needs to justify the raise, Patterson said.