Come on. Really? A 37% raise? As our country goes through its most difficult economic times since the Depression, Lewiston Supervisor Fred Newlin is granted a 37% raise? Kudos to Councilman Ernest Palmer for being the lone soul on the council to vote against this raise.
Families in our community are struggling, as they are across the country. A quarter of a million homes were foreclosed on last month. Corporations are laying of thousands of employees every day. People are going without health insurance because they can't afford it. Hourly workers are going without raises. The state of New York is looking at a multi-billion deficit next year, which is sure to trickle down to the counties and towns across the state. Seniors are worried about how they're going to pay their heating bills this winter. Golden parachutes are being decimated. Oh wait, that's a good thing. But the point is, this is not the time for a municipality to be handing out a 37% raise.
We don't begrudge elected officials making more money. Many of them are far underpaid for the service that they perform for the community. But in this case, it's bad, bad timing. In addition, questions are still lingering about the NYPA settlement and the fears that Lewiston received far less than they should have (see Massena/Alcoa).
Although it was the council that approved this raise, Newlin should have had the courage to stand up and say that this is not the right time. Unfortunately, apparently, it's sometimes very difficult for some people to do the right thing.