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Chemung County executive to receive 2nd pay increase this year, unless voters choose to put it on November ballot

Chemung County Executive Christopher Moss at a press conference in 2020.
Natalie Abruzzo
Chemung County Executive Christopher Moss at a press conference in 2020.

The Chemung County Legislature passed a resolution on July 11 to approve a salary increase for the county executive. It is the second pay bump for the position this year.

County residents have until September 11 to petition for a referendum on the November ballot, if they want to vote on the pay increase.

In January, the Chemung County executive received an 8.1 percent raise from 2022. Then, in July, the county legislature approved resolution No. 23-446 titled Introductory Local Law No. 5. The new resolution gave another salary bump to the county executive.

“We just completed a single rate salary survey, and when the survey was completed, it really compressed the salaries where appointed officials and department heads were making more than the deputy executive and the county executive," Chemung County Executive Christopher Moss said. "So the proposal was sent to the legislature and approved via this local law, as were others that just simply went through a resolution.”

The vote in the legislature was 10-5 in favor. Legislators Lawana Morse, Tom Sweet, Joseph Donovan, William McCarthy and Michael Smith all voted no.

“We all have our own perspectives on whether the county executive is doing a good job or not doing a good job,” said Martin Chalk, Chemung County legislator and chair of the Single Rate Salary Committee. Chalk voted in favor of the pay raise. “But I think that, you know what the bottom line is, he is the county executive. He was elected by a majority of the people in the county. And the salary that he is making is something that is deserving.”

The current increase is a 7.2 percent jump from January, which brought Moss’s pay to nearly $164,000.

In total, Moss received a more than 15% raise to his pay in 2023.

However, according to the county, there’s a permissive referendum period, which means that if a petition with the required number of signatures is received within 45 days of the public hearing for the resolution, the local law must go to a referendum to be voted on at the next general election. The public hearing was July 27.

Signatures from 10 percent of the number of people who voted in the last election are necessary to send a local law to referendum, becoming a ballot measure.

Chemung County Board of Elections said 28,069 people voted in 2022. That means 2,807 county resident signatures are needed by Sept. 11 to include a vote to approve or deny the county executive salary increase during the general election in November.

If no petition is brought to the legislature, Introductory Local Law No. 5 is sent to New York's Department of State to become law. Moss’s pay increase will be retroactive to July 11.

The deputy county executive position received a 13.6% pay increase in January 2023 and a 7.5% raise on July 11. The current salary for deputy county executive is $150,725.