Monday, November 30, 2009

A Town Where Even The Dead Find No Peace

Raise The Buried, And The Salaries Of Town Officials, In America's Largest Township

It was less than two years ago, shortly after her re-election as Hempstead Town Supervisor, that Kate Murray decided she deserved a raise. And so it was. Kate & Kompany, as if by public mandate, voted themselves hefty increases in salary, and barely a peep was heard from we, the people.

Now, on the heels (or was it the smiles?) of her recent return to Town Hall, in the midst of the Great Recession, when folks are out of work and families are struggling to pay their mortgages and put food on the table, Kate is ready to raid the public coffers yet again -- to the tune of a $10,000 increase in her salary, from a paltry $150,000 to a meager $160,000.

And while she's at it, she'll raise the take of other elected Town officials as well. [Of course. After all, the Town Board has to vote to increase her salary, so why not share and share alike.]

Never mind that residents are losing their jobs -- or just barely hanging on. Forget that home foreclosures are at an all-time high. Who cares that most municipalities are letting workers go, freezing hiring, and scuttling pay increases and employee perks? And raises, when there are any, are based upon merit, for actually having accomplished something.

Raises for merit in Hempstead Town?

As they say in Brooklyn, fuggetaboutit!

Kate runs. Kate wins. Kate gets a raise.

Clearly, this is no time for elected officials to be voting themselves increases, let alone increases that the taxpayers will have to bear -- now, in higher salaries, and later, in increased pension payments.

We berated Peter Schmitt (as did GOP Party Chair, Joe Mondello, by the way) when, days after the November 3 election, he doled out increases to his staff. Does Kate Murray somehow think she is immune?

Kate's Minister of Misinformation, Mike Deery, says that raises are appropriate, calling Hempstead Town "the best-run government anywhere."

Is that west or east of Kabul?

The best government one could run away from, perhaps.

Why, these folks can't even run the Town's cemetery properly, burying no less than three of the deceased in the wrong graves (then digging 'em up without telling the families). Worse still, the Town employee in charge of the cemetery had no pertinent skills or qualifications. [We suppose being a GOP Committeeman is qualification enough!]

Hey. What would you expect from a maintenance worker earning over $83,000 a year? Don't suspend him. Give the guy a raise.

Since when does incompetence, arrogance, and failure get rewarded? Oh yeah. Since about 100 years ago, here in Hempstead Town!

We've often complained, on this blog and elsewhere, of the cronyism, nepotism, and appointment by party affiliation alone at Hempstead Town Hall, borne out by a payroll -- a tax fed, public payroll, mind you -- that rewards Republican Committeemen, family members, and no show lackeys with jobs that come with hefty salaries, lifetime health benefits, and lucrative pensions.

Recently, there appeared an Anonymous comment on our post, The Big Chill At Hempstead Town Hall?, from a Town of Hempstead employee:

[Unedited, except for spelling and grammar] Well seeing this I feel compelled to say something. Being one of the people on this compiled list and seeing those posting here who have no clue and no idea. Here is the raw facts WE DO EARN OUR MONEY. With many retiring and no hiring going on many employees are made to do a job that would take 6 people to do with only 2 people and do it with often seriously outdated equipment. Another thing you think the 45k I make a year covers my mortgage, utilities, property taxes (Yes I pay taxes just like you contrary to popular belief just because i work for the town does not make me exempt from any taxes) and all personal bills like car insurance, medical co-pays, so on and so forth guess what it doesn't go very far. And no I am not political so stop blaming the Republicans for everything the Democrat's have done there fair share of screwing crap up as well. So there may be some that do not deserve what they are making but guess what about 90% of the work force does I would love to see all of you shooting off your mouths here do the work me and my fellow co-workers do for what we get paid and tell me then that we are overpaid and do nothing just remember that next time your garbage is picked up or your streets or sidewalks is being fixed or when you see workers busting their butts in 90+ degree weather working in there park or maintaining the beaches so you can enjoy a day there until you have walked a day in my or one of the other employees shoes you really should take your foot out your mouth before doing so and see what really goes on in a day on the job for us. Keep in mind we all have mouths to feed and families so your words are not only hurting the workforce but their families as well.

We would not be at all surprised if this particular Town employee was doing the work of 6 -- or more -- given the number of GOP Committeemen on payroll, and the fact that too many on the public dole either never show up for work or, worse still -- like the fella in charge of the Town cemetery -- have absolutely no clue as to what the job they're paid to do entails.

We have no qualms with Town employees who work hard to maintain our parks and beaches, pick up the garbage, (fix our streets?), or otherwise "bust their butts" for the taxpayers. Many are, to be sure, overworked and underpaid. They should be the first to complain about the overpaid and underworked -- but for the prospect of losing their jobs.

Truth is, there are too many people (more than 2000) on the Town payroll, many of whom do not pull their weight, earn their keep, or have the requisite skills to hold the positions to which they are assigned.

Doling out raises to elected officials in this economy would be imprudent, to say the least. Taking tax dollars out of the wallets of financially-strapped taxpayers to line the pockets of Supervisor Kate Murray and her ilk would be nothing short of immoral.

And in a town where it takes so much money for so many people to accomplish so very little -- even when it comes to properly burying the dead (at the Town's Greenfield Cemetery, $1.5 million out of a budget of $1.8 million is spent on salaries) -- raises to the top town officials (where that buck is supposed to stop) would be unconscionable.

A public hearing before the Hempstead Town Board on the issue of raises for Kate & Kompany is scheduled for Tuesday, December 15th.


  1. With all due respect to the Town employee, I have yet to see anyone who works for the Town (or Special Districts) that really works hard. I know many Town employees personally, and they all acknowledge they basically have do nothing jobs with little to no responsibility. If that Town employee is so unhappy, perhaps they should get a job in the private sector. I can assure you there will be many people fighting to get his/her job.

    As for Kate, just as she's asking Charles Wang to scale back the Lighthouse Project, the taxpayers need to tell her to scale back her salary demands. What's good for the goose is good for the gander!

  2. I'm sure that there are Town employees who are sincere about doing a good job. On the other hand, do-nothing and/or incompetent political hacks, appointed to do important jobs for the benefit of all Town residents, are clearly unacceptable, and cast a shadow on everyone who works for Hempstead. What's missing is even a modest amount of accountablity when it comes to those who really don't do their jobs and yet continue to work for the Town because of their political connections. As a result, all Town employees get tarred with the same brush.

    The recent fiasco at Greenfield, which was undoubtedly a function of bad management brought about by incomptent political appointees, is an utter outrage. The fact that this episode led to no more than a slap on the wrist for those directly involved, is an insult to all taxpayers and anyone who has ever buried a loved one at Greenfield.

  3. I would expect that anyone that actually works hard at the Town of Hempstead would have left the premises long ago. Who could possibly continue to work under conditions where incompetent relatives and committee men are appointed to no show jobs. There may be a few hard working individuals that remain but I would hope they would come forward to expose the Town of Hempstead.

    Based on experience the only people that work there couldn’t get a job anywhere else.

  4. They could get jobs elsewhere, Mike. But where else would they have it so good?

    Actually, there are quite a few terrific people working at Hempstead Town Hall. We just need them to work for us -- we, the people -- rather than to toe the line for the GOP Machine.

    As to why we pick on the Republicans at Hempstead Town Hall, well, who else is there?

    Okay. Dorothy Goosby. Does she really count? Anyway, we pick on her, too! LOL

  5. "there are too many who dont have the requisite skills to hold the positions...."

    ha ! some of these people are so inept and incompetent that its frightening. otoh they have nothing to worry about because they are protected.

    case in point- a couple of years ago I went to town hall-forgot the reason. Some of the "security people" were unshaven,looked like they slept in their clothes,and were surly.

    in private industry they would have been told to go home,or they would have been disciplined,perhaps terminated.

    now that we have republicans running the county,the town and most of the villages will we see any meaningful change? i wonder.

    or is it time to join the huddled masses who are voting with their feet-out of long island?