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Politics and Government

Should Onondaga County legislators return this year's pay raises?

Ellen Abbott
Onondaga County Legislator Kevin Holmquist, a Republican.

Now that a New York State Supreme Court Judge has ruled that Onondaga County legislator pay raises were illegal, at least one lawmaker wants to make amends.

In December 2015, lawmakers voted themselves about a $4,000 a year pay raise, some higher, depending on leadership positions. They’ve been getting that in their paychecks since January. Now that a judge has ruled that resolution was illegal, because it wasn’t properly publicized, Republican Legislator Kevin Holmquist has a challenge for fellow lawmakers.

“Each legislator, I’m calling on all of them to give the money back. The raises were illegal, each one of us has a moral obligation to return that money to the taxpayers,” said Holmquist.

Holmquist says it’s as simple as filling out some paperwork, and having the funds deducted from future paychecks. In total, pay increases amount to $70,000 for the 17 legislators.

The ruling was the result of a lawsuit brought by Onondaga County Comptroller Bob Antonacci. There was no mention in the ruling about whether the funds should be returned. This ruling only affects 2016 paychecks. The legislature passed a local law during the budget season this year, which puts the increase in place legally for next year.