on January 26, 2013 - 8:58 PM
ALBANY – State lawmakers recently came up short on their hopes of giving themselves a pay raise, but two Western New York legislators nonetheless will get a bump in their take-home pay.
Crystal Peoples-Stokes, a Buffalo Democrat, and Dennis Gabryszak, a Cheektowaga Democrat, will be getting pay raises thanks to leadership and task force appointments that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver gave them.
Peoples-Stokes moved up a couple of notches in the Assembly leadership when she became chairwoman of the majority conference. She will get a $16,500 stipend for that post on top of her base legislative salary of $79,500. She previously had been secretary of the majority conference, and she received a $12,500 stipend as chairwoman of a task force on farm, food and nutrition.
Until Thursday, Gabryszak had no leadership, committee or task force title that paid a stipend. But Silver gave the lawmaker, who represents a heavily suburban district, the title of co-chairman of the Legislative Commission on Rural Resources. That job will give him a $12,500 pay raise.
Assemblyman Robin Schimminger, a Kenmore Democrat, continues to be the only Western New York member of the Assembly to head a standing committee.
He keeps his longstanding post as chairman of economic development, which gives him an $18,000 annual stipend beyond his base pay of $79,500.
New committee leaders that Silver appointed include Kevin Cahill, Mid-Hudson Valley, of the Insurance Committee; Keith Wright, Harlem, Housing Committee; Amy Paulin of Scarsdale, Energy Committee; Aileen Gunther, Mid-Hudson Valley, Mental Health Committee; Charles Lavine, Long Island, Ethics Committee; and Andrew Hevesi, Queens, son of former State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, Oversight, Analysis and Investigation Committee. All are Democrats.
Lawmakers are barred from raising their own pay during a current legislative session. They had hoped to bump their pay in December for the new session that began this month. But two events – Superstorm Sandy and the Connecticut school shooting – made such a move politically undoable.
The next time the Legislature’s base pay could go up is 2015. Legislators last received a pay increase in 1999.