I read in the Times Union - and no other publication - that Rensselaer County Executive Kathy Jimino is asking for a raise for herself and her deputy, Chris Meyer. Of course it wasn’t made public until after her budget presentation and, coincidentally, after November’s election.
Not that it mattered much in her own campaign because for the third straight election cycle the Democrats failed to find a candidate to run against her. Then why wait? You may ask. Why not just be up front about the whole raise thing if you truly think you deserve it?
Well, it was to protect the Republican legislators, some of whom actually had an opponent and had to run a race. God forbid they have to take a stand on something as controversial as a raise for an elected official while heading into an election.
I’m not going to weigh in on the size of the raises – Jimino’s salary would go from $112,000 to $121,300 while Meyer’s would jump from $87,751 to $98,700 – that’s up to the Legislature to decide. She is asking just like anyone would and the 19-member panel has to decide to grant them the first raise they’ve had in eight years. But, the sneakiness is … well … just, sneaky.
If you remember eight years ago, after the budget presentation and after election, Jimino and the Legislature gave everyone a raise including themselves, County Clerk Frank Merola, the majority spokesman Rich Crist and a slew of others in county government. The minority got a raise too, if for no other reason than to keep them quiet. It worked.
I’m convinced there is a grand conspiracy going on where the GOP get the towns in Rensselaer County and in turn the Democrats get Troy. And the organizational hierarchy of each party directs the machinations to act in line with that unwritten rule. The Republicans mentioned above all make a pretty decent buck and so does city Chair Jim Gordon – who works for the county – and there are a bunch of Democrats who make a decent buck in the city. Why rock the boat when to many people who control too many jobs are making out OK.
It could be a reason not a lot of Republicans made a lot of noise in the city this time around – or for the last few years actually - and Democrats in the towns are all but non-existent. Sure, every once in a while we get a maverick in Troy like former Mayor Harry Tutunjian and Carmella Mantello but by and large the city is Democratic. (As an aside, Tutunjian had four lines and still failed to come in the top six in his bid for the Legislature but it’s difficult to run for anything after serving eight years as mayor.)
Or, I could be over-analyzing the entire thing and it’s just the way the demographics are shaking out with Troy, like most cities, decidedly left of center while the towns maintain their right of center tradition.
Na, it’s more fun to over-analyze and make a conspiracy theory out of it.