Friday, April 22, 2005
FinCom split on request to increase Town Clerk hours
In its final meeting before the Warrant goes to press, the Carlisle Finance Committe (FinCom) reviewed the final draft of the Articles and voted to establish a position on each one. Members were able to agree on all Articles, except one: increasing the hours of the Town Clerk from 20 to 35.
The majority of the individual Warrant Articles to be presented for vote at the Annual Town Meeting, scheduled for May 23, deal with the FY06 budget. The proposed "balanced budget" supports level services for most town departments and boards, within the 2.9% "guideline" increase and without the need for an override of Proposition 2-1/2. Members had no trouble recommending approval of the budget Articles which the FinCom had developed (Mosquito 3-26-05).
In a few cases, there was insufficient information at this time to take a position. Since the actual cost of the school's wastewater treatment plant will not be known until early May, the FinCom will make its recommendation known at the Town Meeting itself.
The most debated issue continued to be whether to recommend expansion of the Town Clerk's hours (Mosquito 3-26-05). Although the increased hours (and an accompanying increase in the base salary rate) was included in FinCom's balanced budget, Sue Wolfe observed that the "case as presented did not meet the standards" one would require to recommend acceptance by the voters. John Nock commented that he would have preferred a middle-ground option between the current 20 hours and a full-time (35 hour) work week. Nock stated that comparable towns average 33 hours, and that 30 to 32 hours would be reasonable.
Chair David Trask asked whether the committee should put a "no recommendation" statement in the Articles, but this suggestion was rejected on a 4-2 vote. Town Administrator Madonna McKenzie suggested that the Article state that "the committee will take a position on the floor of the Town Meeting," but this was rejected without a vote, as it would require the FinCom to make its recommendation later, but without additional information. Finally, a vote to approve the Article split 3-3, and the committee decided that this split vote, indicative of the ambivalence the FinCom has had toward this issue throughout the process, would be stated in the Warrant.
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