Supervisors recoil over press criticism of police patrol pay

They suggested that critics of the raise compare the officer's pay rate with starting pay for an untrained county laborer, which is about $25,000 annually.

"The public deserves better from their local newspaper-this week's op/ed was irresponsible and unfair," Johnsburg Supervisor Sterling Goodspeed said Tuesday. "It's not wise just to ignore the complexities of an issue and use it as a linchpin to accuse people of fiscal irresponsibility."

Tuesday, Post-Star Publisher Rick Emanuel responded to the supervisors' complaints. He said that perhaps the supervisors should have put more effort into educating the public about all aspects of the pay rates and negotiations.

"It may have been irresponsible on their part to throw out percentages relating to salary increases without educating the public appropriately," he said.

Goodspeed said that if the contract was voted down, the issue would have been sent to a binding arbitrator, which could have ended up costing the county significantly more than the one-time 7 percent and the following 3.5 percent annual increase in this contract.

"These guys were earning what amounts to $14.18 an hour to do a dangerous and important job," said Warrensburg Supervisor and county budget officer Kevin Geraghty. "We know we can never compete with state Police salaries, but we have to retain the personnel we already have - I feel that the job they do is well deserving of this contract."

Geraghty said that that a first year officer will now earn what amounts to $15.17 an hour per the negotiated deal. In the contract, the PBA conceded issues such as increased personal co-pay for health insurance claims and is a fair deal for taxpayers and officers alike, he said.

"If this vote costs me an election next year so be it," said Queensbury Supervisor-at-large and retired police officer Bill VanNess. "To say these people aren't worth $15 an hour is a slap in the face - because of the job they do they will carry scars for the rest of their lives."

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