It's the latest in a back and forth game of political finger pointing between democrats and republicans in Broome County after Debbie Preston calls out some legislators, accusing them of using military personnel as political pawns. YNN's Chris Whalen has more.
BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- It all started on January 19th, when County Executive Debbie Preston announced she was standing by her campaign pledge to cut salaries of county employees by five percent.
Later that evening, the legislature passed the resolution, 10 to six, with all present republicans voting in favor and all present democrats voting against.
"I did it because I felt it was the right thing to do because every day I look for ways to cut county spending," Preston said.
Fast forward five and a half months. Democrats on the legislature organize a press conference to defend themselves against a mailer from the republican committee in which they are described as 'failures' and 'out of touch' for voting against the pay cuts.
They say the reasoning behind their vote was to protect two county employees who are currently serving in the military.
"We spoke at length about whether it was legal and many of us having read both state and federal law think that it wasn't legal," said legislative minority leader Mark Whalen.
Wednesday, the debate was reopened once again when democrats on the County's personnel committee introduced a bill that would make it illegal to cut employee salaries while they are actively serving in the military, but Preston is crying foul, calling the move 'political posturing.'
"I say 'shame on you' for exploiting our military for political purposes. We must all stand with our brave military service people, not hide behind them to launch politically motivated attacks," Preston said.
Sponsors of the bill, however, say the 'Respect Act' is designed to protect employees who are not around to speak for themselves.
"First of all, don't cut their pay while they're overseas. Second of all, if you're going to cut their pay, at least give them the respect of coming home, getting settled in, then bring them in and do it face-to-face," said legislator Joe Merrill.
This likely isn't the end of this debate, as the 'Respect Act' was tabled by the personnel committee and will be revisited at a later date.