Thursday, April 21, 2016

Counties’, District Attorney’s, associations call on New York State to cure unfunded salary mandate

The New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) and the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York (DAASNY) have sent a joint letter to state leaders asking them to enact a chapter amendment to the State Budget or separate legislation that will provide state reimbursement to counties for the mandated DA salary increase.

Recently, the NYS Commission on Legislative, Judicial and Executive Compensation voted to recommend an increase in state judge’s salaries in 2016 and 2018. Without objection by the State, the recommendations became law on April 1, 2016.

Of concern to county government is the state law that links District Attorney salaries to judicial salaries. Historically, when the State has adjusted the judicial salaries, it has reimbursed counties for the increase in DA salaries through the State Budget. Unfortunately, the recently enacted state budget does not cover the recent increases.

The letter notes:

DAs are entitled to the fair and just compensation pursuant to law for fulfilling the state constitutional and statutory duties related to the enforcement of the State Penal Law. However, any state mandated increase to a local government official’s salary, as a matter of equity and fairness, must be met by the State… While the $1.6 million may seem miniscule in the face of a $150 billion spending plan, it amounts to a significant portion of a county’s allowable tax growth under the state-imposed property tax cap.

It has been reported that the mandate will hit smaller counties especially hard.

For more on this unfunded mandate, click here.