Response to the Salary Increase for Town Employees.

I recently received some criticism for my support and bringing forward a "Cost of Living Adjustment" (COLA) for the non-union town employees of 1.5%, which will cost $13,500.00 to fund from the bottom line of the budget.  Due to this my character has been called into question after less than two months on being on the board.  Although I am more than happy to discuss and explain my reasons/actions with anyone will to call or approach me; I will not do it on the so-called "Town Forum".  So I thought I would outline them here:

  1. I have indicated many times that I am a conservative; but I have also stated many times I believe we need to invest and protect our town assets and infrastructures.  The employees of this town are a critical asset and are key to the operation of the town's day-to-day; not to mention the services required by the citizens.
  2. The non-union employees have not had an increase in a couple of years.

  3. Many of the non-union employees have not received any STEP increases, as they have been working within the town for many years and reached the top of the salary scales.

  4. The town residents authorized many increases to both the town and school budgets to support our employees; so I would assume if there was an increased included in the budget, it would have been approved.

  5. It was the desire of the Board of Selectman (which I was not a member at the time) to provide a 3% increase, which was denied by the Budget Committee and not lower recommendation was allowed.  I certainly agreed that 3% may have been to high for the time, and something less should have been requested.

  6. My recommendation of a 1.5% and not 3% was made to address a problem, recognize the employees for their work and not to impact the tax base. 

  7. I am also not willing to increase TAXES; but we may be forced into it, and it will not be because of a small salary increase.  If I thought it would, I would have not brought it forward.

  8. The town budget represents a small fraction of the income that comes from TAXES, and the employees, leaders, and others have done a great job in controlling spending; and continuing to improve services.  This should be recognized not criticized.

I welcome anyone to reach out and call me to discuss my positions or anything I have done since being elected on the Board of Selectman.  I am here to server the whole community; not just a few that enjoy being on their soapbox and don't have a complete understanding of what's happening behind the scenes.

I think it also important to note, I am a taxpayer also; and experiencing the same issues caused by the economy that my neighbors and friends are.  So any increases in spending I support impacts my family, friends and me also; so I must have a good reason for doing it.

I welcome any feedback; just pick-up the phone and call me at 603.262.3901.