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Town Supervisor, Clerk, Council Members Granted Raises

On Tuesday, Dec. 15, the Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray and Town Council members granted themselves pay raises after holding a hearing at town hall.

The raises amount to $10,000 for Murray, a 7 percent raise, as well as $4,500 or 7 percent for each of the members of the town board including Anthony Santino, Dorothy Goosby, James Darcy, Angie Cullin, Gary Hudes and Ed Ambrosino. In addition, Hempstead Town Clerk Mark Bonilla received a $10,000 raise or 10.4 percent.

When it came time for the public to speak, one town resident, Claudia Borecky of Merrick, spoke out against the raises. “This practice of giving yourselves raises right after an election has to stop,” she said.

Murray, the town council members and Bonilla were all re-elected last month. Murray and the town board members voted to give themselves raises in 2007, also after they were re-elected. The raises, which amounted to $10,000 to Murray, $7,500 for Town Receiver of Taxes Don Clavin and Bonilla, and $5,000 for each council member, took effect in 2008.

“You must stop raising your salaries. You have to stop patting yourself on the back that you’re doing such a great job. The people are angry and disgusted and we’re not going to take it anymore. You cannot keep taxing us and not providing us with anything in return,” Borecky said.

Borecky, president of the North Merrick Civic Association, also asked Murray that when she is up for re-election two years from now, that she put in the budget any intention of granting raises and, if so, the amounts. Murray stated that she couldn’t predict what would be in the budget two years from now.

Town of Hempstead spokesman Mike Deery has maintained that the raises were warranted because the town has one of the best-run governments anywhere.

Murray has pointed out that the town’s government has been sensitive to the taxpayers and has, therefore, in October, passed unanimously a budget for the 2010 fiscal year that freezes property taxes.