The New York State Compensation Committee is slated to meet Thursday for the last time after it held two public hearings last week. The committee, which consists of four members — the current state and city comptrollers, as well as two former comptrollers — is expected to decide by next week if state lawmakers will receive their first pay increase in 20 years.
"It is an opportunity for us to hear from stakeholders, from citizens, from organizations," current State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said. "There is no pre-determined answer on whether or not we are going to recommend compensation. If we do, what the level will be."
The commission will also consider compensation for statewide elected officials, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, plus members of the governor's staff.
"We want to make sure that there is a reasonable compensation. We'd like to see reform as well," City Comptroller Scott Stringer said. "But right now we are taking information."
Cuomo and newspaper editorial boards have said they'd like to see reforms linked to any pay raise, including a limit on the outside income lawmakers are currently allowed to earn. But that may be beyond the scope of the commission, which was hastily created earlier this year and passed as part of the multi-billion dollar state budget.
"It's my point of view that that is an appropriate reform. The extent to which this committee has the ability to impose something like that I think is open to question," DiNapoli said. "But that is certainly the kind of reform that should have been done a long time ago."
While the commission was supposed to take politics out of the decision, it's not technically necessary. Lawmakers have had the power all along to pass any pay increase as legislation and send it to the governor for his signature.