Amherst Town Manager John Musante
So it comes as no surprise the Select Board gave Town Manager John Musante high marks (don't get any higher than 100%!) for fiscal management, working with the Select Board itself, and slightly lower but still very good marks at 83% for dealing with our tax exempt institutes of higher education.
What is troubling, however, is the lowest mark (75%) for dealing with staff.
Particularly troubling because this mirrors the low (er) marks his disgraced predecessor Larry Shaffer received a few years ago. Interestingly, yesterday the Michigan newspaper that covers Jackson where Shaffer briefly reigned as city manager published an expose on the "inside story" of Shaffer's sudden departure -- with $64K in tax money -- from that community that mirrored his sudden departure from ours, with $62K in tax money.
Another safe bet is the Select Board will give the town manager a 5% raise based on this performance evaluation. And not because it brings his salary into line with surrounding communities, but simply because School Superintendent Maria Geryk -- who was also making exactly the same $140K last year -- recently received a 5% raise.
And we must have parity ... at least at the very top rungs of municipal employment.
But when your staff and lower on the totem pole employees only receive a 2 or 3% raise, that legitimately creates, umm, discontent.
Grade inflation? If the Select Board had rewarded the town manager's above average fiscal management and communication with them with an 80% or a B, which most people consider a good solid score, then reducing that by the same 25% they did with his interaction with staff would have resulted in a 60% score ... or a D.