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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Behind the Numbers in Budget

For two weeks now, elected and appointed officials have been hiding behind the numbers which increase the Personnel Services codes from which their salaries are funded. The basic problem is a total lack of transparency in separating out the individual salaries paid from these codes which include multiple salaries.

With the exception of the Supervisor whose 280% mid term salary request was flushed out by the media, we still have no official confirmation of the raises sought by the Town Clerk and two appointed attorneys prosecuting cases in town court. We can also not determine how raises are spread out in other codes including the comptroller's office.

But we have head from many sources that the two town attorneys, one with a criminal record and the other a former Troy judge removed from the bench, will double their current salaries if approved. Of course, Councilman Spain should abstain from this fight since the former judge is a superior on the Troy City Council. Since this money was originally paid to a single attorney working in the courts of two town judges, the salary should remain unchanged since it was cut in half and given to two attorneys so that each would only handle half the work load, one court each. Now they would get double pay for half the original work.

We also believe that the Town Clerk is planning to capture most of the salary increases placed in her Personnel Services Codes for BOTH Town Clerk and Registrar. She plans to give her Deputy only 3% while she takes all of the remaining money proposed in the two salary codes she shares with a deputy. That would make Clerk Connolly the highest paid town clerk in the county with a salary of around $65,000. Remember she is paid from two salary codes, town clerk and registrar. Each registrar does exactly the same work and each has always been paid the same. You know equal pay for equal work? Let's see if that still applies.

In any event. we also heard that councilmen did not want these large increases placed in the budget in a kind of "if it isn't there, I won't have to get someone mad at me by voting against large increases". But Mark Evers put them all in anyway out of concern for taxpayers and as a means of providing some political cover for his own selfless 280% money grab.

It should be quite a show this Thursday night at the board meeting as the public will get to quiz the board and clerk about the numbers as they set the date of a public hearing on the budget. Stay tuned.

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