Highest elected officials in town are paid $300 annually
Saying that when she mentions their annual $300 stipend most people laugh, Select Board member Connie Kruger told the Finance Committee this morning the Select Board compensation issue, although awkward for her to talk about because of obvious self-interest, boils down to "respect of the office."
Select Board members are reimbursed for some out-of-pocket expenses, but the issue really is their time. Lots of it. This past Fiscal Year they met 33 times, with each meeting lasting around three hours. Not to mention all the prep time preparing for each meeting.
And the simply fact that their stipend (and that of the Moderator) has not increased since the mid-1970s, so inflation alone calls for quadrupling the current amount.
Finance Committee this morning. Chair Kay Moran 2nd from right
Most Finance Committee members were sympathetic to the issue with member Bernie Kubiak agreeing strongly: "It should be increased considering the importance and amount of time ... I think $300 is a joke”
But newly reelected Chair Kay Moran thought it was a "policy issue" that should first be fleshed out with an exact amount by either the Select Board or a committee they appoint, and then come back to the Finance Committee like any financial article.
Member Steve Braun had to leave early before a vote was taken but told the committee on his way out, "I'm in favor of raising it."
Vice Chair Marylou Theilman made a motion to "Refer the question of compensation/stipend back to the Select Board as a policy issue." That motion passed unanimously 6-0.
Connie Kruger said she was happy with that, as the Select Board may now feel more comfortable discussing the issue.
In other financial matters the Finance Committee voted unanimously to transfer $251,176 from their "Reserve Fund" to last year's DPW budget to cover cost overruns on "snow and ice removal."
The original $280,000 DPW budget was overrun by almost twice the amount, coming in at $531,000.
Area compensations. Described as "all over the map."