State raise panel makes no proposals in first meeting (updated)

The four state appointees set to award New York lawmakers their first raises in 20 years finally held their first public meeting on Tuesday, less than four weeks before they must make their decision, and did little more than give perfunctory remarks about their task.

In a webcast meeting held in New York City, the chairmen of the SUNY and CUNY boards and the comptrollers for the state and city talked a little about the description of their mission in this year’s state budget, and showed some comparisons of the salaries of New York’s legislators and other elected and appointed officials with those of peers in other states and New York City. New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer showed charts projecting how much the state salaries would have grown today if they had matched the inflation rate and private-sector salary growth since 1999.

But they proposed no actual raises, and it’s unclear if the panel will meet again to do so before the public will get a chance to comment at two hearings set to be held in Nov. 28 in Albany and on Nov. 30 in New York City. The panel, known as the New York State Compensation Committee, must decide on raises for legislators, the comptroller, attorney general, lieutenant general and top administration officials by Dec. 10, and may give them pay increases for the next three years.

New York’s 63 senators and 150 Assembly members currently get a $79,500 base pay, the third hightest in the U.S., plus stipends for party and committee leadership positions that range from $9,000 to $41,500.

A similar raise panel broke up two years ago without increasing pay after clashing over a proposal to give 43 percent raises.

(Update: An assistant to SUNY Chairman Carl McCall confirmed that the panel will hold no further meetings before the two hearings at the end of the month. That means the public is being invited to comment in the abstract on raises without knowing how much the panel plans to award.)

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