Niagara County Manager Defends Pay Hike For Clerk | News
LOCKPORT, NY - A month after being elected to his fifth, four year term as Niagara County Clerk, Republican Wayne Jagow has been granted a series of raises by the GOP controlled Niagara County Legislature.
The pay increases, which will kick in starting in 2013, will raise the clerk's annual pay from $84,149 to $92,844 commencing January 1, 2015.
The pay scale was proposed by County Manager Jeffrey Glatz who explained that by law, the clerk's salary must be set by the legislature for the entire four year term of the holder of the office.
He also defended the raises being granted to Jagow, because the responsibility of the County Clerk has been expanded to include the administration of the Office of the Niagara County Historian as well as the Niagara County Veteran's Service Agency.
"He's not only taken on these additional duties, but he's really stepped things up," Glatz told WGRZ-TV, noting that under Jagow's leadership the State of New York awarded Niagara County with the New York State Archives Cheryl Steinbach Excellence in Records Management Award.
"I have nothing against Mr. Jagow because he's an excellent public servant," said William Rutland, President of AFSCME Local 182, a union representing blue collar workers in the county's Department of Public Works, and whose contract will expire at the end of the year.
"However, we took a reduction in wages for the contract we have now for all new employees and here they're going give him a ten percent raise...it seems like a slap in the face to us," Rutland said.
Jagow believes he is deserving of the raises, but seemed relieved that they will not go into effect until after 2012, a year in which no other county employees are expecting raises.
"This is bad timing because of what were going through as far as the county is concerned, the union negotiations that are beginning, and with the economy that we're having right now. I don't believe I should get a raise this year...but I feel it's a necessary thing going on down the line as far as increases are concerned."
Jagow also expressed the hope that in future years, should the economy rebound, that other county workers, especially members of his staff, will be rewarded with raises.
Asked if he'd be willing to sacrifice the raises he's now due should the economy continue to be sluggish, Jagow said, "I can give it back, and I would be inclined to do that."
Jagow also insists that the salary increases will not increase his pension, because he is under an older state retirement system, and served in the county Sheriff's Department before becoming County Clerk in 1995.
"If you're asking if this will pad my pension, the answer is no," Jagow told 2 On Your Side.
Even without the raises, the current salary of the Niagara County Clerk is higher than that of the Erie County Clerk, who serves a population roughly four times greater. Both Jagow and Glatz contend, however, that the duties of the clerk in each county are different, and it's not an "apples to apples" comparison.
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