WEST SENECA, N.Y. – Town of West Seneca Supervisor Sheila Meegan’s proposal to increase her position’s annual salary by nearly $17,000 was met with fierce opposition from the public Monday night, as the town council now prepares to vote on the 2017 budget next week.
The council did not make a decision on Meegan’s proposal, which would raise the supervisor’s salary from roughly $63,000 to close to $80,000 per year, an increase of 29 percent.
Instead, the council voted to approve an amended preliminary budget and scheduled a special board meeting on Nov. 14 at 7 p.m., for the purpose of approving the final budget.
Monday’s public hearing on the preliminary budget, however, drew close to 100 people. The majority of the speakers at the hearing lashed out at Meegan’s proposal, with one woman calling the idea “appalling.”
“If you all vote for an almost 30-percent increase for Ms. Meegan -- if you run again -- you will lose your jobs,” she said.
Meegan defended the need for a pay increase, pointing to the fact that the town supervisor’s position has not received a raise since 2005. Meegan said her male predecessor received health insurance as a part of his benefit package, which the supervisor no longer receives in West Seneca.
“Bringing the attention to the salary of this job, showing the disparity as being a woman in this job as opposed to my predecessor who made more than my ask, is something that needed to be brought to the public’s attention,” Meegan said.
The public hearing portion of Monday’s meeting lasted for more than an hour, as speakers battled back and forth with Meegan and other town officials during several heated exchanges. A few members of the public defended Meegan, but many others threatened to vote her out of office or, in one case, even inquired about the possibility of a recall.
Meegan said she understands the public sentiment, but the speakers’ comments Monday night have not changed her mind.
“We should have been giving a little bit of an increase to the supervisor’s position,” Meegan said. “It’s about the job title. It’s not about me personally.”