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Town Board debates its own pay

REPORTER FILE PHOTO Councilwoman Amber Brach-Williams tells her colleagues she disagrees that she needs more money to continue to do her work on the budget.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO
Councilwoman Amber Brach-Williams tells her colleagues she disagrees that she needs more money to continue to do her work on the budget.

If there was a single issue that raised differences of opinion among Town Board members at Friday afternoon’s budget meeting it was salary.It started with an agreement from Town Board members that while they would take a traditional 2 percent pay hike, they wouldn’t take the 3 percent that was being proposed for other municipal workers.

But what they wanted was to give Deputy Supervisor Amber Brach-Williams more money that she didn’t want to accept.

Noting the amount of work Ms. Brach-Williams does on the budget and the extra work a deputy supervisor takes on, they argued that she should get  a higher raise.

She argued that each of them gives much time in other ways, but they weren’t having it.

Supervisor Gary Gerth told his Town Board colleagues that he had wanted to give Ms. Brach-Williams $3,000 in addition to a 3 percent raise he had proposed for each of the members. But she refused, he said.

The four members of the Town Board each have been earning $39,227 and with the 2 percent hike they would get by Friday’s agreement, that would go to $40,405. Ms. Brach-Williams, at least temporarily agreed to allow her colleagues to pencil in the $40,405 raise plus an additional $4,000 for serving as deputy supervisor.

The argument gained speed for the others with the argument that they wanted pay to be enough to inspire younger people to get involved in running for office.

The same argument involved Mr. Gerth’s proposed pay raise.

He has been earning $85,749 and is slated to see that figure hike up to $90,322 — still considerably below what supervisors of neighboring towns are earning.

He let slip that as he approaches the end of his first year in office, he plans to seek a second and perhaps a third term.

The job is full time, Mr. Gerth said. He asked for time to consider whether he might be willing to knock down that $90,322 number by a couple of thousand.

The board agreed.

Traditionally, Town Board members have mostly been people winding down their careers, but they have other sources of income. Mr. Gerth said his concern is that unless the supervisor’s position gets kicked up, it would be impossible for younger people to seek the office.

As with all budget requests, the final decision here will come once the Town Board completes its meetings with department heads and committee members and then starts the process of reexamining the entire budget.

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