Despite indictment, McLaughlin gets $20k raise
Brendan J. Lyons is reporting for the Times Union the Rensselaer County Legislature December 21 voted to give Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin a $20,000 annual salary increase, just three weeks after being arrested and indicted on charges that he misused campaign funds and falsified campaign filings. Democratic county Legislator Cynthia B. Doran of Troy was one of four lawmakers to vote against the package of raises for McLaughlin and dozens of other county employees. She said the paperwork with the details of the pay hikes had been shared with legislators one hour before the meeting. Doran said that Michael E. Stammel, chairman of the Legislature, defended the raise for McLaughlin, whose annual salary of $121,300 will now increase to $142,000. "I think the county executive and his operatives, ... have brought a bad name to the county, and we are looked upon as being possibly a bit corrupt," Doran said. Peter Grimm, the Legislature's Democratic minority leader said, "It’s interesting that Mike Stammel, who is also being investigated, introduced and sponsored a bill that would give the county executive — who has been arrested for (alleged) criminal behavior — such a raise. It’s just defining the corruption that’s here." Stammel's own conduct is one area of focus in an unrelated investigation of alleged ballot fraud in the November election. Grimm said a second resolution, which would have given McLaughlin and other elected officials in the county automatic 2 percent annual raises, was withdrawn after he questioned whether it was legal for the lawmakers to vote to raise their own salaries. McLaughlin, a Republican, has been indicted on two felony counts, grand larceny and offering a false instrument for filing. His second term begins in January. Under state law, McLaughlin would have to leave office if he's convicted of a felony. Read the full story in the Times Union.