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Binghamton Mayor Says Car Cash Is Justified

Bob Joseph/WNBF News

Mayor Matthew Ryan says he’s a “little upset” by some of the criticism he’s heard about his request for a stipend in lieu of being provided with a city vehicle.

Ryan wants city council to approve a $5,000 payment, noting he hasn’t utilized a car provided by the city while he’s been mayor.

The mayor called WNBF Radio’s Binghamton Now program today to respond to a listener’s email dismissing the stipend request as a “joke.”

The listener contended that because Ryan had previously indicated he would not want or accept either a car or a stipend, he shouldn’t be seeking a change now.

Ryan said as mayor, he’s entitled to a car. He said he didn’t take advantage of that in the past because he’d simply decided not to do so.

The mayor said he’s “losing money each year” because his cost for health insurance continues to go up. He said he pays the highest rate for health insurance of any city government employee.

Ryan said his current car lease is about to expire, so he made the stipend proposal to lawmakers.

The mayor said there had never been a contractual agreement he wouldn’t use a city-provided vehicle, he just chose not to drive one.

Although Ryan’s pay recently was increased, he noted his salary has not kept pace with what other city employees receive.

Ryan said when he took office, he was the 140th-highest paid city government worker. Now, he said, 274 city of Binghamton employees are paid more than the mayor. Ryan said, “it’s just ridiculous.”

The mayor admitted he regrets not making the stipend request sooner. He said it “was foolish on my part.”

Ryan said he doesn’t have a sense at this time how city councilmembers will act on his request.

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