Democratic Caucus of the Monroe County Legislature

Democratic Appointees Abstain from Voting on Sheriff’s Pay Raise

Tom MorriseyComment

Cite unlawful process, hasty and predetermined results

Rochester, New York – Democratic appointees to the county’s Compensation Policy Commission abstained from voting on its final report today, which recommends a major pay increase for the Sheriff now and additional annual raises for the future.

The appointees chose to abstain because they do not believe the commission is legitimate, as it ignored requirements set out in the highest law of Monroe County, the county charter:

Members shall be appointed by the President of the Legislature, and shall serve for two-year terms commencing as of the first day of January following each general election at which members of the County Legislature are elected... The Commission shall submit its report and recommendations, in writing, to the Legislature, with a copy to the County Executive, no later than the first day of July preceding the County fiscal year in which such recommendations are proposed to become effective.

- Monroe County Charter, Article II, Section 11 (emphasis added)

“Regardless of the content of the committee’s recommendations, we believe that voting ‘yes’ or ‘no’ would have granted legitimacy to a commission that we believe is unlawful,” said appointee Mark Muoio, Esq. “The County attorney has yet to sufficiently answer questions I and fellow members have repeatedly expressed regarding our compliance with the charter, and I have deep concerns about contributing to what I believe is an illegal action by voting on this report.”

“In addition to our belief that this process itself is unlawful, we find the final recommendation entirely unacceptable,” said commission appointee and County Legislator Joseph D. Morelle, Jr.  “We are automatically rewarding an elected official for the length of his service.  A newly elected Sheriff would earn significantly less than the current sheriff and most other law enforcement leaders in the county, regardless of his experience, ideas, changes in his responsibilities, or any of the other important concepts that would normally be considered when setting an individual’s salary – undercutting the majority’s very justification for installing this commission in the first place.”

“It is a sad day in Monroe County when a commission is asked to evaluate the salary of one of the county’s top law enforcement officers outside the law,” said appointee Gary Pudup, a veteran of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.  “To this day, we have yet to have an open discussion of this matter within the law.  Both the public and the Office of the Sheriff were ill-served by this dog and pony show.”