Sen. Little’s Plattsburgh office to close

Budget slashed as GOP becomes minority

State Sen. Betty Little talks with the Enterprise editorial board at its Saranac Lake offices in October. (Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

PLATTSBURGH — State Sen. Betty Little’s Plattsburgh office will close this Friday, a victim of her party’s loss of the majority.

“It is what it is, but we will make the best of it and still represent our area as best we can,” said Little, R-Queensbury.

Democrats wrested control of the Senate majority in last November’s election. It is the first time since 2009 and 2010 that they held the majority. Before that, Republicans had controlled the Senate for about four decades.

Budget slashed

With the change in majority comes a traditional restructuring of not only committees, but office space and staff.

Little’s staff budget of about $796,000 was cut by about $182,000. Staffers are being forced to take an 11 percent pay cut.

“That’s just the way they do things in Albany,” said Tim Hoefer of the Empire Center for Public Policy.

Little has been in the Senate since 2003 representing the 45th District, which includes all or parts of Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Warren and Washington counties.

According to the Empire Center, her staff includes five members who earn more than $65,000, including Dan Mac Entee at about $85,455. Two others are paid more than $55,000.

‘Cozy’ Albany office

Little’s Albany office in the Legislative Office Building was moved from a spacious spot on the third floor to a much smaller office on the seventh floor.

“It’s very cozy, and I have to say it’s fixed up nice,” she said. “We’ll make the best of it.”

She will maintain an office in Glens Falls and will still meet with constituents in Plattsburgh at space in the Clinton County Government Center as needed.

“The county is going to let me use some space there,” she said, “and I will still be meeting with people at their businesses — sometimes you can learn more that way.”

The Plattsburgh office was open part-time, usually two or three days a week.

Little paid the county $800 a month for the space on the first floor, but that money came from her campaign fund and not her state office budget. The state paid for computers, telephones, furniture and other items for the office.

Bonnie Lucas, who staffed the office, will be retiring.

Paul Maroun will still work part-time as a representative for Little. Maroun, also a Franklin County legislator and mayor of the village of Tupper Lake, often works from home on her behalf, Little said.

“He’s going to try to come to Plattsburgh and do mobile office hours at times,” she said.

Good stewards

Republicans in the Senate minority have often been seen as good stewards of upstate. Little said she hopes the region is not forgotten by the Democratic majority.

“We still have a governor who is very aware of our needs and has worked hard to help us,” she said. “So we will try not to get too discouraged.”