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Politics and Government

Antonacci lawsuit against Onondaga County pay raises moves forward

Tom Magnarelli
Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci (right)

A judge has denied motions to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the Onondaga County comptroller against the Onondaga County executive and legislature over pay raises. The defendants will now have to respond to the lawsuit by August 8.

Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci said the attorneys representing the county executive and legislature will now have to address whether the resolutions the legislature passed in December giving pay raises to themselves and the county executive were legal. The defendants said this has been done before. Antonacci said that is false.

“There has never been a raise by resolution after Election Day and after the budget has passed, ever," Antonacci said. "It's good for the taxpayers that this lawsuit is able to go forward. This is about protecting the public treasury, passing laws in the right manner. Happy is not the right word. There has been a lot of money expended on this lawsuit. I certainly don't like the fact that we're fighting with each other."   

Credit Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News
Robert Smith (left), the attorney representing Onondaga County and the legislature.

Antonacci said that raises can only happen during the budget process or through a local referendum.

Robert Smith, the attorney representing Onondaga County and the legislature said the lawsuit is politically motivated.

“I think he was fully aware of what was going on and really did not object to it until the time he was withdrawn from those raise proposals,” Smith said. "This is nothing more than a political debate. But if we have to settle it in a court of law, we are very confident when we get to that court of law we will prevail and everything that occurred did according to the rules and have long been in place by the Onondaga County Legislature."    

Smith said there are 20-30 years of prior actions taken by Onondaga County legislatures that he will submit in his response as proof that the resolutions and raises were properly passed.

The judge did dismiss a second case against the county by Legislators Casey Jordan and Kevin Holmquist who also object to the raises. It was dismissed on the grounds that the case was the same as the one being made by Antonacci. The next hearing is scheduled for August 11.