Niskayuna supervisor seeks 2023 salary increase

Niskayuna Supervisor Jaime Puccioni at a Memorial Day Service in May

Niskayuna Supervisor Jaime Puccioni at a Memorial Day Service in May

NISKAYUNA — Niskayuna Town Supervisor Jaime Puccioni is seeking a proposed $4,700 salary increase under the town’s tentative 2023 budget.

Under the proposal, Puccioni’s salary would be raised from the $53,800 salary level contained in the approved 2022 budget to $58,500 in 2023.

The proposed 2023 spending plan would not raise the salary of the four town board members, whose rates would remain flat at $10,450 per year.

Puccioni said she believes the proposed raise is justified and noted that discussion on the proposal will be held at the board’s next public budget meeting on Oct. 12 at 4:00 p.m. at town hall.

“I think that making a small, incremental increase to the office of the supervisor is appropriate,” she said on Friday. “I think that further discussions are warranted in order to make that salary commensurate with the actual expectations of the job.”

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Puccioni, who began her first two-year term as supervisor in January, also holds a part-time position as a faculty member in literacy teaching and learning at the University of Albany. As a full-time instructor in 2020, she earned $83,523, according to state records.

Puccioni said on Friday that she believes the supervisor’s role also equates to a full-time position.

“The office of the supervisor is the CFO and COO of the town,” Puccioni said on Friday. “If you compare it to other municipalities it’s actually far less, in comparison to say Clifton Park or Bethlehem.”

The supervisor’s salary in the 2022 adopted Clifton Park town budget stood at $106,483 from a $25 million spending plan between the town’s general and highway funds combined. The adopted Town of Bethlehem 2022 budget included $199,523 in personnel expenses for the supervisor’s office from an approved $46.8 million budget.

The tentative 2023 Niskayuna budget includes $19,559,360 in appropriations between the general and highway funds, up from the $17,227,029 total found in the approved 2022 budget. The proposal features a 3.06 percent homestead tax rate, up from 2.72 percent in 2022.

At the town board’s meeting on Sept. 29, Niskayuna Democratic Committee member Linda Rizzo addressed the board during the public comment portion of the meeting and said she had heard from an unnamed fellow Democratic Committee member that during a private Democratic Committee meeting Puccioni had discussed the possibility of raising her salary to $100,000 per year and how that raise could potentially be presented to the community.

Rizzo then asked Puccioni, a fellow Democrat, if she wanted to address the matter.

Puccioni did not respond to the resident’s question but later in the meeting noted that she worked approximately 30 hours per week performing her duties as town supervisor.

“That’s just an incredibly rough estimate,” Puccioni said on Friday. “In a professional setting, you don’t even count your hours. This job does not simply take place in the confines of town hall. There are calls to be made and constituents to visit and community organizations to speak to and there are online meetings to attend. And you’re on-call all of the time and your phone is always there. You have to address the needs of the town.”

Town Board Member Jason Moskowitz, the sole Republican on the council, did not return a request for comment on the proposed supervisor salary increase as of press time.

On Monday, Rizzo said that she does not believe that the supervisor should receive a $4,700 salary boost, as currently proposed. “No one should be getting a raise,” she said. “I live in Niskayuna and I know people are complaining. They’re drowning with inflation. Politicians that want raises at this time I think are out of touch with reality. I don’t care if you’re a Republican, conservative or Democrat.”

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