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Letter: Councilman Ryan Explains ‘No’ Vote On Salaries


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January 4, 2015

Letter to the Editor:

I would like to take this opportunity to explain my reasons for voting “no” on two of the three salary ordinances during the December 15, 2014 council meeting. By way of background, most of our employee salaries are set during contract negotiations with two unions, the PBA for the police department, with the exception of the chief of police, and the OPEIU that covers most of the other town employees. The council approved both contracts after they were negotiated. Employees that were not covered by labor contracts were placed in a third ordinance. (10-14). This included the town manager, chief financial officer, municipal clerk, tax collector and heads of departments with supervisory responsibilities.

The employees covered by the OPEIU contract were included in Ordinance 9-14 and that passed on a unanimous five votes. The Ordinance 11-14 contained the chief of police and the remaining police officers. I voted “no” on this as did Councilman Nochimson. Our vote was against raising the salary for the chief of police. This was based upon the long standing problems that came to light when the local PBA filed a complaint against the information technology personnel for lack of support and in some cases obstruction to the ability to perform their jobs. An internal review revealed the complaint was justified and corrective action needed to be taken. Simply put, I believe the chief should have taken a more active role in addressing these issues before a complaint was filed and I did not feel a raise was justified.

I voted “no” on the ordinance that contained the employees not covered by contracts (10-14) and was once again joined by Councilman Nochimson. The raises were all recommended by the town manager. Councilman Nochimson questioned Mr. Martin on his basis for recommending the salaries and whether or not he had formally evaluated his department heads. Mr. Martin indicated there were no formal evaluations and his recommendations were based upon his interactions with the individuals. He also included a 2% raise for himself even though the council has not completed his evaluation. He also recommended the salary of our new municipal clerk without any input from the council. This is a violation of the statues regarding the municipal clerk in my opinion. Voting “yes” on this salary ordinance may have been legal but the lack of proper justification for the proposed salary increases was an endorsement of a flawed process and sets a bad precedent. It passed on a 3 to 2 vote.

The town manager has a great deal of authority under our form of government; however, I believe the main responsibility of the council is to ensure the taxpayers money is being spent wisely. Based upon the lack of information I received I was unable to vote yes on this ordinance.

Councilman Kevin Ryan

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  1. Councilman Ryan, I applaud you in standing up against the town manager. Thank you for keeping the intrest of the tax payers and how our tax dollars are spent.

  2. Councilman Ryan, I too appreciate your diligence in seeing that the taxpayer’s money is being spent wisely. But let’s not lose sight of the forest through the trees.

    You glance over the union contracts as if they were handed down from Moses or something? The council needs to start bargaining with these units, you need to get us better deals. Much better deals.

    Many of these jobs, especially in the PBA contract, contain wildly inflated salaries that are amongst some of the highest in the entire country. The council needs to aggressively address and adjust these unconscionable salaries back down in accordance with competitive free market conditions – just as many of our surrounding municipalities have already done.

    Grow a set, the PBA won’t bite you – you drone on about the municipal clerk, who, from a quick check on the public employee online database, appears to be one of the lowest paid municipal clerks in the entire state. From my experiences, which are quite frequent, the individual is competent, college educated and state certified as well as professional, thorough and polite. Sounds personal, is it? Penny-wise and pound-foolish?

    Sadly, I can’t say the same about the Police Chief and some of the other grossly over-paid, high-ranking individuals who can never answer simple questions and consistently appear to be doing nothing constructive. In light of the IT scandal, the Chief shouldn’t even have a job, much less a raise.

  3. Dear Mr Johnson
    Thanks for your comments. If I am still on the. Council when the contracts come up for renewal I will keep them in mind. As far as the clerk is concerned , I think you missed my point. I have nothing personal against her. The Council should have been involved in setting the salary before it appeared in the formal ordinance. I would also ask if the web site you viewed showed the number of years the clerk has held the position. If not, the information is not sufficient to make a valid comparison . Your accusation that it was personal is insulting . I didn’t mention her salary I just stated the process was flawed. I am very pleased to hear you have had good experiences with her since if you review the statutes this is one of the few positions that the council and not the town manager hires.
    Councilman Ryan


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