During tonight’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting, the subject of giving raises to the First Selectman, Town Clerk and Tax Collector, which was first discussed in the May meeting, Selectman Ralph Okenquist opened the discussion.
Using information from the Finance Office were time sheets for certain employees. Okenquist said First Selectman Jim Zeoli is down for 37 hours per week when he actually works closer to 50-60 hours per week.
A breakdown of the hours and salaries reflect to the approximate following hourly pay:
The Building inspector averages $29.93 per hour; the first selectman averages about $31 per hour; Park & Rec Director avg $36.60; and the Orange School Business Administrator averages $46 per hour.
Okenquist put out the numbers from similar towns and stated everyone makes more money than the Orange first selectman — $3,000 below the average. He has no human resources manager, etc, yet he is the second lowest paid in the group.
Selectman Mitch Goldblatt disagreed with the way the numbers were calculated. He said a fair raise for the first selectman would be 4% not 7% /$85,000 nothing more
Selectman John Carangelo said 7% is a fair and reasonable rate and the First Selectman deserves to be paid a fair and reasonable rate.
Selectman Joe Blake agreed that the first selectman should get a 7% raise because of all the responsibilities the position requires.
Okenquist made a motion to raise the First Selectman’s salary to $88,000 for the next two years.
Zeoli said the budgets of the towns that the first selectman, town clerk and tax collector operate under are vastly different from town to town. People in these positions with $14 million town budget make more than Orange’s employees, while Orange has a much higher town budget. “I’m not in it for the money, I do it for the town,” he said.
Okenquist made a motion that the Tax Collector and Town Clerk both receive a salary of $60,000 for the next two years, reflecting a 7.4% raise.
All three salaries were approved [though not unanimously for the First Selectman.] The First Selectman’s position received closer to a 4% raise, which comes to a little more than $5,000 over 2 years.