Friday, December 8, 2006
Town employees to get 3.5%raise
On November 28, the Board of Selectmen (BOS) voted a 3.5% increase for non-contractual town employees. The discussion followed a presentation from Finance Director Larry Barton of town benefits and the impact of rising costs on employee contributions. The presentation highlighted the likelihood that some town employees will see their raises largely eaten up by increases in the contribution required to keep health coverage.
Doris Jafferian presented the Personnel Board's recommendation for a 3.5% increase for all employees. Although there is no classification adjustment this year, a survey indicated that this raise would "maintain parity with other towns." It is slightly more than the cost-of-living increase of 3.3%. Although not among the highest increases, it follows a year in which employees received 3.5% while other towns were offering lower amounts. Comparison with other town employees indicated that Carlisle School and CCHS employees are receiving a 4% increase, not including increases for seniority step or lane changes.
David Freedman of the Planning Board questioned if the 0.2% over cost of living "makes up fully for the increase in health care?" Larry Barton worked through an example including the predicted 12% hike in health care costs. If an employee earns $40,000 per year and pays $600 per month for a family health insurance plan, the $72 extra per month in insurance expenses will not be covered by a 0.2% increase in pay, which works out to an additional $80 per year in this example. The 0.2% raise "doesn't do too much," admitted Hult.
Freedman expressed frustration "on behalf of the fine staff that works for the Planning Board" that people are "falling further behind." Bill Tice suggested considering a higher increase, with Madonna McKenzie noting that anything above 3.5% "means hitting other line items" as the FinCom has asked departments to adhere to a 2.9% limit. Tice then suggested that each department chair be allowed to supplement salaries if possible, but Hult said this would introduce inconsistency and unfairness.
The BOS voted unanimously to support the 3.5% raise, with Tice noting his "very strong sympathy" for town employees. "I wish it could be higher, but I recognize the constraints."
© 2006 The