Saturday, November 17, 2007

You scratch my back...

At a time when the People’s Republic is facing a $1.9 million deficit in the upcoming year and town officials desperately wished for a $2.5 million tax Override to make it thru this year, the Town Manager gifted Finance Director and Town Manager wanna-be John Musante with a new job description, ‘Assistant Town Manager’--including a retroactive raise from $90,000 to $96,000 this year and to $102,000 next year.

So how many other municipal employees will get a 7% raise next year? And where would we come up with the many millions needed to cover that?

Musante’s predecessor Nancy Maglione always acted as town Manger when Barry Del Castilho was on his frequent vacations or I-don’t-feel-like-coming-to-work days; and that was simply a part of her job description as Finance Director.

Musante collected an extra $10,000 last year (and an additional month of vacation) for acting as Town Manager when Del Castilho bailed out, with full pay of course, three months early.

At the Select board meeting of May 30 rookie Town Manager Larry Shaffer reported the Finance Committee’s Reserve Fund (supposedly set aside for “unanticipated emergencies”) was bankrupt, so the potholes (requiring about $10,000) that made Amherst resemble a B-52 carpet-bomb test range would just have to wait until July.

Of course the Cherry Hill Golf course--that both Shaffer and Musante championed--was sucking up $16,000 of the FinCom’s $50,000 emergency fund; and the Town Manager’s car/cell phone allowance of $4,200 also encumbered that fund because Musante neglected to include it when he put together his (or rubber stamped Del Castilho’s) FY07 $220,000 Selectboard/Town Manager budget.

So if Musante has trouble with a spare-change $220,000 budget, what else will he miss in a mid-$60 Million budget?

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