New Fairfield officials consider pay rises for first coach, treasurer

NEW FAIRFIELD – First coach Pat Del Monaco could get a pay rise next year.

This is part of what the Finance Council considers when members determine the proposed budget for 2023-2023.

Finance council member Cheryl Reedy suggested giving the first coach a $6,000 pay raise and the treasurer a $5,000 raise in the next fiscal year 2022-23.

If the Finance Council were to approve the increases, the selectman’s first salary would increase from $94,560 to $100,560 and the treasurer’s salary would increase from $8,170 to $13,170.

Compared to the salaries of first elected officials and mayors of surrounding towns, New Fairfield is “out of the mainstream,” Reedy said at a Feb. 16 finance council meeting.

A table presented at the meeting compared the 2021-22 salaries of New Fairfield elected officials to those of Brookfield, Danbury, New Milford, Redding and Ridgefield.

With a current salary of $94,560, Del Monaco is the second-lowest-paid city leader of all first-time elected officials and mayors of any city, according to the data.

Although New Milford Mayor Pete Bass currently has the lowest salary of the bunch, the New Milford City Council has proposed a 21% raise that would take his salary from around $85,500 to more than $103,000. $.

Compared to treasurer salaries in other cities, New Fairfield ranks last at $8,170. Of the other six towns, Brookfield had the lowest treasurer salary at $13,445, while Newtown had the highest at $164,942. In Newtown, however, the town treasurer is not an elected official.

Considering how busy New Fairfield’s first elected officials and treasurers are these days, Reedy said she believes those in the positions should be paid “closer to what they’re worth.”

“The work of the first coach is 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – and yes, people choose to show up – but the last year has probably been more 24 hours a day and 7 days a week due to COVID said Reedy, a New Fairfield alumnus. first coach. “The work required of a treasurer these days…requires more hours than 30 years ago when the treasurer just arrived, made a few phone calls to local banks to see what the CD rates were and has signed checks.”

Having seen New Fairfield’s elected officials’ salaries “lag behind other cities”, Finance Council Chairman Wes Marsh said he would favor considering the proposed increases even amid a tough fiscal season.

“It’s been a tough year, but we’re talking about adding $11,000 to a multi-million dollar budget, so I would be in favor of that,” he said.

Other members of the finance council, however, said they don’t think the time is right to offer pay rises to elected officials.

“I agree with the concept, but I disagree with the timing because we are currently looking at a very difficult budget year,” said Thora Perkins. “I would like to discuss this at another time, but we have to go further in this budget year.”

Reedy said the salary increase could also attract qualified candidates on the road.

“You all know how difficult it is to get people to run for elected office,” she said. “When our first coach or current city treasurer decides not to stand for election, we will be looking for qualified people to replace them.”

Reedy said the low salaries will attract a limited pool of people willing to show up.

“I want to encourage people who have the skills to consider running…and be able to keep them,” she said.

Reedy said it was difficult to get elected officials’ salaries “in the right place”, and since the Finance Council has the power to set them, she thinks consideration should at least be given to increasing the amount of the salary. remuneration of the first selector and the first treasurer.

“They can’t ask for (raises) themselves, and it’s often not supported by the Finance Council or the public,” Reedy said, adding that neither Del Monaco nor City Treasurer Terry Friedman, didn’t know she was going to suggest the salary increases to the finance board.

Board member David Coleman said that would be the wrong optics.

“I don’t think that’s the message the Finance Council wants to say at the moment – that the very first thing we lock in tight is substantial raises for some of the elected officials… in a year where we’re going to squeeze a lot of places,” he said.

The Finance Council ultimately decided to postpone the decision on salaries until later in the 2022-2023 budget process.