Cheektowaga Does Something Unprecedented

10 Nov

This may be as significant as Kevin Gaughan’s proposal that town boards reduce in size. In Cheektowaga, the town board has instead elected to reduce its pay by 9% in an effort to control costs, lead by example, and to keep tax increases as low as possible. Here is the press release, and frankly it’s something that every elected official in the State of New York – which is facing economic crisis – can take a hint from. Here’s the press release:



The Cheektowaga Town Board will be meeting this Wednesday to look into new ways to reduce the 2009 budget and minimize the proposed increase to the tax rate.

Council Members James Rogowski, Richard Zydel and Stanley Kaznowski have signed onto taking some of the pain themselves – they will propose to roll back the salaries of town board elected officials to 2000 levels, about a 9% decrease in pay. This would apply to the six Council Members and would be in addition to a previously announced proposal to eliminate the Town Supervisor’s stipend of Budget Director.

“We believe that this is a move without precedent anywhere here in Western New York” said Council Member James Rogowski. “Where else do you hear about elected officials actually cutting their own pay? And furthermore, this is not some sort of gimmick. We are sending a strong message that the current cycle of compensation for those working in the public sector has become unaffordable for many of our tax payers.

Along with Rogowski, Council Members Richard Zydel and Stanley Kaznowski have signed on to the proposal. “We are sending a strong budget message to our five labor units and to other employees” said Council Member Richard Zydel. “The salaries and benefits paid out to our employees is unsustainable, given today’s economic realities. We appreciate the valuable service and dedication our policemen, highway Parks, Sewer, and sanitation crew, our office staff and others perform in service to the taxpayers every day. We need to work in partnership with every one of them to find ways to do more with less. That will be the mandate as we move forward.”

Council Member Stan Kaznowski added that the only way the town board can go to the bargaining table and ask for meaningful changes in its labor agreements is by setting an example of leadership. “I can’t look an employee in the face and ask them to take less pay or curtail a fringe benefit if I can’t demonstrate that I am doing the same to my own salary. This is a demonstration of sacrifice that we hope our employees can understand and take seriously. Simply put, our taxpayers are stretched to the limit and can not absorb any more increases.”

The three Council Members has put together an additional package of cuts, including elimination of full time and part time positions in a number of departments, and curtailing of raises for part time employees on the town’s zoning board, planning board and bingo inspectors. With the reduction in their own salaries, this translates into over $273,000 in additional cuts.

“We recognize that this is only a proposal” said Rogowski. “We know that our town board colleagues share in the goal of producing a meaningful budget that blunts any more burden on the taxpayers who are already stretched to the limit in these tough times.”

“Furthermore, we want to send a strong message to our fellow elected officials at all levels of government. To the state legislature – this is no time for your honorable body to be considering pay raises for yourselves. To our peer municipal jurisdictions – perhaps now is the time to take a long hard look at your own pay levels and see if perhaps you can make do with less, and in doing so send a message to your own employees and your own constituencies that you mean business in making meaningful long term reductions to the cost of government and still be able to deliver first class municipal services” Rogowski concluded.

4 Responses to “Cheektowaga Does Something Unprecedented”

  1. LC Scotty November 10, 2008 at 9:51 am #

    They have “Bingo inspectors”?

  2. Cheektovegas November 10, 2008 at 10:26 am #

    Your right pundit this is huge… elected officials need to make these cuts and also stop the overtime, the taxpayer paid cars and all the other waste and pork. Kudos to Rogowski and Zydel and Kaznowski!!! the voters will remember you at the polls. but do the math… they need more votes to pass these cuts. Where is Charlie? Are you going to support this budget and take the cut or are you going to ram Mary’s big tax increase instead? Swiatek and Jawrowicz.. both of you are running for re-election next year you need to step up and let us know now that you are with the taxpayers. Mary Holtz and the highway sup Mark Wagoner are driving brand new suv’s all paid for by the taxpayers is that all neccessary? We will be watching in the next few days to see if ALL the elected officials will join with these three to support these changes to the budget good luck and God Bless.

  3. hank November 10, 2008 at 12:51 pm #

    I’ll be dipped in shit and rolled in cracker crumbs—Never woulda thunk it.

    With the economy contracting, This is one ballsy move, and I respect the HELL out of the Town Board for having the fortitude to even suggest it.

    No government employee needs a brand new SUV to drive around in. You can pick up good deals on fleet vehicles at just about any auto wholesale auction, where dealers go to buy used vehicles for their lots.

    You can drive a 2003 Ford P/U used for a lot less purchase price than a new SUV, and it would be just as good if not better on gas. Keeps the guys in the garage with a job doing the maint. instead of the dealer too.

    There just might be some hope for WNY yet.

    Thanks for posting this Alan.

  4. wnyresident November 10, 2008 at 2:40 pm #

    Follow along a little more closely

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