Chemung County Legislators, Executives Battle Over 2022 Budget Base Salaries

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ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – The battle over the Chemung County 2022 budget is brewing as county legislators and executives face several disputes, some of them over base salary discrepancies.

“There were 22 base salary adjustments in the budget [and] 20 of them were approved. The only two that weren’t approved were the County Executive and the Deputy Executive — the oldest county employee, and the only African American department head or elected official,” Chemung County Executive Chris Moss said. “We’re gonna have legal challenges on several fronts [and] we’ll be filing by the end of the week.”

Moss called this a “wage compression issue” and said he will file paperwork in the Supreme Court and the State Division of Human Rights.

Two Legislators spoke with 18 News and said they were upset by Moss’ comments regarding why he and the Deputy Executives’ base salaries were not adjusted.

“That’s too bad that [those] comments being made because I don’t know that any of us that had any thought about that,” Chemung County Legislator Thomas Sweet said. “It’s just absolutely ridiculous.”

Sweet called Moss’ comments “unbelievable” and “disgusting,” citing that they “disturb him.”

One legislator claimed the reason Moss did not receive the pay increase is because Moss ran on a promise to cut his salary.

“He ran on a pledge to reduce the County Executive salary,” Chemung County Legislator Robert Briggs said. “And now, three years later, he wants to increase it. He wants to add back an adjustment and then give himself an increase. That was the only reason that I voted to not make that adjustment.”

Moss’ salary has decreased over the years, going from $166,273 in 2018 to $141,332 in 2019. According to the Chemung County Legislator, Moss called for a 13-percent pay increase for himself, which would have brought his salary from roughly $140,000 to nearly $160,000.


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