Here’s a look at opinion content published in The Journal News today, Friday, Jan. 7: 2011
Overtime and salary cuts: Editorial
We comment on news that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has taken a voluntary pay cut and that he’s asked to do the same. In Yonkers, City Council Minority Leader John Murtagh has challenged his colleagues to a similar cut. We write:
OK, we get it. We understand why new Gov. Andrew Cuomo is kicking back part of his salary to taxpayers and commanding top staff to do the same: He wants to inspire like generosity from the state’s public-employee unions, before commencing a swift ground war of wage freezes, consolidation and restructuring. It is good symbolism ahead of storm-trooping policy-making and budget cuts.
A bit harder to comprehend is the angle on the press-release inspiring challenge issued this week by Yonkers City Council Minority Leader John Murtagh, who is barred by term limits from seeking another stint on council (but presumably will be running for something). Murtagh on Thursday called upon not only his council colleagues but the entire Westchester Board of Legislators to return 5 percent of their pay. The Republican councilman already returns nearly 10 percent of his pay; a year ago he challenged all Yonkers government employees to forgo 5 percent.
Unfortunately for taxpayers, this window-dressing — forgoing pay and “challenging” other elected officials to do the same — does not constitute a strategy for ensuring that taxpayers are treated fairly over the long haul. It does not require collective-bargaining agreements be smartly negotiated; it does not hold supervisors accountable for monitoring and managing overtime; it doe not fix too-generous sick or time-off policies, which also help drive up employee costs. …
William E. Sheerin, president of the Yonkers Public Library’s board of trustees, offers a Community View on the challenges his organization faces. Continued public funding of libraries, Sheerin argues, is essential to preserving the overall health of any community.
Dissension in the Senate: Editorial, Albany Times Union
Truth in government: Editorial, New York Daily News
Wise choice for DEC chief: Editorial, Newsday
Repeal a bad idea: Editorial, Poughkeepsie Journal