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Pay raise games: Two panels and maybe no raises for judges? Only in Albany


The decades-long cowardice of the state Legislature to raise their own salaries and adopt needed ethics reforms could now result in two separate special panels that could grant two sets of raises. Or it could leave deserving judges without a long-awaited, mandated increase in compensation.

Albany, you’ve outdone yourself.

Too chicken to boost their pay since 1999 and wanting to hold the judiciary hostage, the Legislature let salaries for judges stagnate year after year. Finally, a commission was enacted to set reasonable compensation for jurists in 2011.

Then, in 2015, spineless legislators shoehorned raises for themselves and statewide elected officials into the judges’ pay panel. While the group tapped by the governor, Senate, Assembly and chief judge agreed to judicial raises that year, in 2016 the commission deadlocked and lawmakers got zippo for the 2017-2018 session.

So then the electeds created another committee, which gave them big hikes this year and curbed outside earnings starting in January. Those new rules are now being fought out in court.

Meanwhile, the original pay commission was due to start again on June 1. Gov. Cuomo, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie have all failed to name their picks, putting judges’ pay raises at risk. Just perfect.