Town's pay hikes, touted as equality-driven, went mostly to men

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JERICHO -

New pay hikes in the Town of Oyster Bay are drawing the ire of some workers and taxpayers in the town.

The town board approved the pay increases for dozens of town employees three weeks ago. Town Supervisor Joe Saladino says that the move was taken in part to ensure equal pay between men and women who have similar responsibilities. But a list of those who received raises shows the majority were men.

Saladino says the move was also part of an overall restructuring of the town's workforce, which he says is the lowest it's been in years.

'We are reducing the workforce, and we are reducing the amount of money we spend on our workforce by $3.9 million," he says.

MORE ON THIS STORY: Read more at Newsday.com

Jarvis Brown, president of the local CSEA, says he's been hearing from a lot of his female members who feel they are underpaid compared to some of their male colleagues.

"For the union, now it's our job to identify the women -- all the ladies that have not been asked about or received a pay increase," Brown says.

Meanwhile, homeowners who've seen hefty hikes in their town taxes in two of the past four years are questioning why anyone is getting pay hikes.

"Government is just dysfunctional and it costs us taxpayers all kinds of money," says one Syosset resident.

Town officials say the pay raises total about $730,000, but they say overall payroll is still lower than it has been in years because of a shrinking workforce.

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