Top Officials May Receive Raises

The Board of Selectmen is considering a recommendation from the Personnel Committee to give salary increases to three elected positions in town, the first selectman, town clerk and tax collector.{{more}}

First Selectman Jim Zeoli recused himself from the discussion.

Selectman Joseph Blake, a member of the committee, said it was time for a raise for the positions.

“The average for a town clerk or tax collector is $71,000. I agree it’s a substantial increase. But you have to remember the state law says no increase while they hold a specific term of office. Others have enjoyed pay increases but these individuals haven’t seen one in four years,” Blake said.

“The First Selectman is making $82,000. He’s the CEO of a corporation with a $61 million budget. We need to bring him up to $90,000,” Blake said.

Town Clerk Patrick O’Sullivan said he went to the personnel committee because it had been four years since they had seen a raise.

He said he used statistics collected from a comprehensive survey published by the town clerks association.

O’Sullivan said he compared towns/cities comparable to Orange, where duties are similar.

He said the average pay rate for a town clerk or tax collector is $71,600 annually. Both make $55,000.

Similarly, he said, the average salary for a first selectman is around $90,000.

Selectman Ralph Okenquist, also a member of the personnel committee, said he recommends increasing the first selectman’s salary to $95,000.

He also recommended health insurance after 10 years of service and life insurance three times the salary.

Selectman Mitch Goldblatt didn’t agree with the raises.

“I did my own surveys. What is proposed is excessive,” he said.

He referenced a Connecticut Conference of Municipalities study where the average first selectman’s salary is $79,000.

Elected town clerks and tax collectors earn$59,000.

Selectman John Carangelo said he appreciated Goldblatt’s work but preferred to listen to the personnel committee who was making the recommendation.

The issue was tabled until the June meeting.