The Ulster County Legislature is looking to appoint three new members to a board that will determine if elected county officials will get a raise.
Ulster County legislators Dave Donaldson, D-Kingston, and Ken Ronk, R-Shawangunk, have nominated Gerald Benjamin, Robert Parete and Wayne Gutmann to the Periodic Compensation Review Committee.
The five-member committee, established by charter, reviews the salaries of all county elected officials every two years and presents the findings by Sept. 30 to the county’s executive and legislative branches. During its deliberations they’ll have to host at least one public meeting.
Charter allows the county Legislature to pick three members and the county Executive to pick two. This year, it comes during an election year for the county executive, the Legislature and the district attorney.
Gutmann, is a former Shandaken supervisor, a Mount Tremper realtor and supporter of the current chair of the Legislature, John Parete. His term would be one year.
Benjamin, a New Paltz Republican, is the former chair of the Ulster County Legislature and a SUNY New Paltz professor. He played a major part in creating the county charter. His term would be two years.
Robert Parete, a Stone Ridge Democrat, is the son of current Ulster County Legislature Chair John Parete and the brother of Legislator Rich Parete. He’s also a former legislator. He would serve the longest term, three years.
The picks have to be supported by the full Legislature.
Though the charter specifies that only one of the three members the Legislature picks needs to be from the minority party, Republicans, legislators have chosen two. Chairman Parete has formed an alliance with Republicans and four Democrats to chair the Legislature, to the chagrin of some Democratic legislators who wanted someone else.
Currently, legislators make $10,000 a year. The majority and minority leaders make $12,000 a piece and the chair makes $19,500. The county executive makes $133,572 and the county’s District Attorney makes $167,298.
The county clerk and comptroller both make $101,709 and the sheriff makes $101,706.
Ulster County Deputy County Executive Ken Crannell said that Ulster County Executive Mike Hein is currently picking out his choices for the committee and would announce them within the next week or two.