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PR: Latimer Takes Pay Cut, Cuts Staff

“Times are tough. People and businesses are making hard choices – and government had better do the same.”

Tough words from George Latimer, assemblyman representing the Sound Shore communities of Westchester, in light of New York State’s budget woes. Latimer backed up those words by making a voluntary decision to cut his take-home pay by 3%, effective with the new budget year beginning April 1st, and also announcing he will eliminate two positions out of five in his Assembly offices.

“Families are sitting at the kitchen table, struggling with their bills. I live with that reality personally, too. But elected officials need to prove they ‘get it.’ Every one of us in office has to show we’re willing to make sacrifices, too,” Latimer said.

Latimer announced that, effective April 1 – the start of the 2010-11 budget year – he would take a voluntary 3% pay cut, reflected in reducing his take-home check each pay period. Latimer receives only the legislative base salary of $79,500 per year; he holds no additional pay (often called “lu-lus”) for committee service or any position. He has also stopped any outside work to avoid perceived conflicts of interests. State legislative pay has been frozen since 1999.

Latimer also announced that two positions in his offices – one part-time post based in Mamaroneck, and one full-time post in Albany – would be eliminated. The part-time post elimination leaves two remaining part-time slots in Mamaroneck; the full-time post in Albany reduces his coverage there from 2 people to 1.

Latimer commented: “My office expenses – including salaries – is the lowest among all Westchester-based state legislators, but these actions will cut spending further. We will have to work harder and smarter – just like everybody else during this tough economy”.

Latimer – a 20 year veteran of serviceĀ  in major corporation subsidiaries (Nestle, ITT) – drew on his years of budget accountability in business. “I’ve been through this before in business; I’ve had to cut budgets, and deal with difficult personnel decisions. It’s never pretty. But it’s necessary.”

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7 comments to PR: Latimer Takes Pay Cut, Cuts Staff

  • That is real commitment to cutting costs, maybe this can be done with respect to education costs. Great leadership!

  • Anon E Mous

    Assemblyperson Latimer has consistently demonstrated concern for the needs of the people, has represented his constituents with fervor, has been available to his communities and their residents, and actively sought out at multitudes of events their ideas and opinions.

    It would be welcoming to hear others be identified as such, but at least we’re lucky that our Assemblyperson Latimer has been a rare exception to the words attributed to Frank Hubbard, ‘We’d all like to vote for the best man, but he’s never a candidate.’

  • Larchmont Res

    Assemblyman Latimer is doing a terrific job! Great decision to cut staff during these economic times. I’m sorry he took a pay cut, because he truly does a great job for our community. He’s always visible, always listening, always doing his best for us. I wish our other representatives could do the same.

  • Betsy Shaw Weiner

    George Latimer just proved once again that, in whatever governmental position he has held, he has truly focused on service rather than personal gain. That was clear to many of us around the county when he was a County Legislator, particularly when he was chairman of that body, and it’s been clear to those of us who have followed his career in the State Legislature. He pays attention, works thoughtfully and hard, and sets a needed example for his colleagues. If only all of them, including the State Assembly leadership, would follow it!

    Betsy Shaw Weiner

  • rosita fichtel

    Now, if only ALL the NY State,city,town,village and school union contracts could be frozen until New York is in the black. My hat off to George!

  • Lauren

    I find it very hard to evaluate our Albany representatives. Much of the information I see seems to come directly from the politicians themselves. I do not find a lot of independent reporting through our local papers. Can anyone point me in the right direction? I found this non partisan, issue oriented website but Latimer refused to answer their questions on their “Political Courage Test”. It makes me wonder why… Oppenheimer has answered the questions. Thank you.

  • Roger

    I don’t know anything about this website you refer to, but I don’t find it hard to evaluate an “Albany” politician when he is, in fact, available locally for me to meet and query. George holds local office hours at the Nautilus Diner…updates the Village Board on issues…attends the League of Women Voters forums all year long. The problem is, unfortunately, many local people don’t spend the time to know who represents them locally – some people’s lives are more Manhattan focused, and perhaps they rely on a website to tell them. The NYTimes will never tell you about individual Assemblymembers, County Legislators- they’re treated as small potatoes. That’s why the Gazette, the Sound & Town, etc. matter.