Friday, February 12, 1999
Personnel needs underlie general budget increase
Whether town residents have enough official business to transact at Town Hall to justify keeping the building open, and paying staff for a longer day, was the issue underlying the biggest line item increase in the general expense budget approved by the selectmen on February 2. Although this budget, which basically pays for the administrative costs of town government, tops last year's budget by a little more than 16 percent, in dollars the proposed FY00 budget is only approximately $27,000 over the FY99 budget.
The specific line item in question was the selectmen's secretary salary. Currently, the secretary works three days for the selectmen and two days for the building inspector, averaging 35 hours a week. Town administrator David DeManche indicated that the selectmen now have enough work to justify full-time secretarial support. However, selectman Doug Stevenson reminded his fellow board members that when the town voted to increase the board from three to five members, they were assured that there would not be a concomitant increase in need for administrative support. Selectman Michael Fitzgerald observed that the town as a whole has just gotten busier.
In this regard, DeManche reported that the personnel board is recommending that all Town Hall employees work a 40-hour week. The impetus behind the recommendation, said DeManche, was to define the work day for all employees. A sign on the front door of Town Hall indicates that business hours are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but many town employees are there longer.
The selectmen, however, did not see a demonstrated need for an across-the-board increase. The board decided to increase the selectmen's secretary position to 35 hours a week, creating a separate position for a part-time secretary for the building inspector.
Administrative staff is paid on an hourly basis. Most employees are receiving a 3 percent pay increase, reported DeManche.
The selectmen must present the general expense budget to the FinCom for final approval. FinCom has set a 3 percent increase guideline for most town departments. Last year's general expense budget totaled $179,771.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito