Several town positions are due for salary increases, according to a recent study. | Mark Dionne, Town Times
September 21, 2016 08:44AM
By Mark Dionne
On Thursday, Sept. 15, the Middlefield Board of Finance voted unanimously to recommend a Town Meeting to approve salary increases for certain town employees, bringing their salaries more in line with similar positions in other towns.
The recommendations came from First Selectman Ed Bailey as the result of a salary and job description study initiated by former First Selectman Jon Brayshaw and conducted by an outside consultant.
The study looked at the pay of the same jobs in similar towns. As Bailey explained to the BOF, “No town is a direct comparison. It’s impossible to directly compare two towns” so Middlefield was compared to a group of “small town type towns.”
Information gathered from comparable towns was broken down into average and median hourly rates for the positions.
The recommendations focused on 11 non-union positions because the union positions could not be adjusted in the middle of a contract.
The positions suggested for increases are First Selectman, Board of Selectmen, Treasurer, Tax Collector, Town Clerk, Fire Marshall, and Tax Clerk for a total increase of about $25,000.
Three positions were recommended for no increases - the Emergency Management Director, Animal Control Officer, and the Finance Director.
Although originally recommended for no increase, the BOF suggested increasing the FY 16-17 stipend for members of the Board of Selectmen to $4,800 from $4,036 to bring it in line with the study average.
The three largest suggested increases by dollar figure are the First Selectman’s increase of $8,274, the Tax Collector’s increase of $6,506, and the Town Clerk’s increase of $6,493.
Bailey noted that he was “not entirely comfortable” including the First Selectman’s salary, his own, in the recommendations but that he had been asked to do so by the BOF.
The end result would put the First Selectman’s FY 16-17 salary ($75,427) between the study average ($73,948) and the study median ($77,042) for comparable First Selectmen.
Throughout the meeting, Bailey and BOF members mostly referred to the positions and not the people currently in those positions as the study was not focused on job performance, but compensation of the position.
BOF members discussed implementing the increases all at once or in a two-step process but decided an all at once approach was simpler and justified.
The town should do it at once, Bailey said, “if we want to get it behind us.”
BOF Chair Bob Yamartino agreed that if a position deserved a certain salary it should happen sooner. “We want to compensate this year ... It has been a planned project,” Yamartino said.
The Board of Selectmen has the responsibility to call a Town Meeting for the public to vote on moving the funds for this adjustment. If approved, the increases will be paid for by $15,000 from the Capital Non-Reoccurring Budget and about $10,000 from the Operating Contingency Fund.
The $15,000 was put in the Capital Non-Reoccurring Budget by public vote in anticipation of the study results. Moving these funds requires a Town Meeting, which has not yet been scheduled.