JOHNSTOWN - Fulton County supervisors Monday approved a $1,680 annual stipend for one of the county's two coroners to do administrative work, despite objections by some.
"I think we're throwing away our taxpayers' money," said Broadalbin Supervisor Joseph DiGiacomo.
Voting against the stipend were DiGiacomo, Northampton Supervisor Linda Kemper, Gloversville 2nd Ward Supervisor Frank Lauria Jr. and Gloversville 5th Ward Supervisor Michael Ponticello.
The stipend for county Coroner Margaret Luck equates to about $140 per month and is effective Jan. 1. Fulton County employs two elected coroners who receive equal pay for death investigations on a per-call basis, and they often work independently. The other coroner is Art Simmons Jr.
The resolution passed Monday by the Board of Supervisors states the stipend is independent of the coroners' caseload payments and it shouldn't be considered part of Luck's base pay. She sought the stipend in July, feeling she should be paid for administrative work she's been doing on behalf of the coroner's office since 1997.
But Kemper said she was "confused" by the action because it was her understanding Simmons was against Luck receiving the stipend.
"You're talking two elected officials," Kemper said. "[The work] is part of the job."
In an Aug. 20 memo to County Administrative Officer Jon Stead, Simmons wrote: "Several times I have reviewed [Luck's] proposal and find at this time that I am opposed to it, as presented. Also, I am requesting her proposal be put on hold at this time to be studied further."
Ponticello said the board can't "start passing out stipends for people after the fact."
But Johnstown 3rd Ward Supervisor Jack Callery said he was "happy to support" the stipend resolution. He said Luck has done a "tremendous job" for the county.
Johnstown 2nd Ward Supervisor Mike Kinowski said the county would have to hire another employee if Luck did not get the stipend.
"Those duties have to be done - the invoices, the budget appropriations," added Perth Supervisor Greg Fagan.