The Mansfield Board of Selectmen voted 5-0 to increase town manager William Ross’s yearly salary by $10,000 on Jan. 12 2013.
“Right before Oliver [Kozlowski] took over [as chair], we just finished up [an evalation], I think Bill’s scores we’re 9.7 out of ten,” selectman Jess Aptowitz said. “Bill was a gentleman to say right out of the box, unbeknownst to us, to say ‘look I don’t even want to talk about salary, now let’s just keep moving forward.’”
During his first year, when the town was in some economic strife, said that a raise may send the wrong message and that he would not ask for one. Selectmen were supposed to discuss the possibility of a raise almost three months ago, but the budget issues of the season pushed back the issue.
“Bill’s proven himself over and over,” selectman Doug Annino said. “I think it’s one thing to give positive impressions, it’s another to give him an increase in salary, which is in my mind well deserved. I think we should endeavor to keep him in this position, he has stabilized the town manager’s position in the town over a lot of tough issues.”
With the yearly Mansfield Electric Stipend of $10,000 and a vehicle allowance of $5,000, Ross’s gross pay went from $145,000 a year to $155,000 a year.
This raise was independent of Ross, as it was awarded to him from the selectmen as an addition to his current contract (for the third and final year only, aka 2013) rather than a negotiated raise for a new contract.
The actual raise to his salary is about 7.6 percent (of $130,000, his base salary).
Selectman George Dentino said that, while he believes Ross is doing a good job, he has some reservations on what an outright raise at this juncture (before a new contract has been negotiated) may intimate for the rest of the town.
“I’ll be straight out with you, I think it’s very important for us as a board to understand what we are giving out to town employees,” he said. “That becomes a barometer, so to speak, of how we have handled increases… it’s good to know what was negotiated and what we agreed to in the [previous] contracts before we establish what we’d like to do in [Ross’s] case, at least in my mind.”
Dentino brought up the point that making precedent on this could affect outlooks on what raises for municipal employees should be.
Chair Oliver Kozlowski pointed out that there are other town employees who make considerably more than Ross’s salary, and that decisions of a previous board (who voted those raises in) should not affect what the current board does.
“I do think it is very very important that we hold to what we’ve been talking about for a very long time,” Dentino said. “That’s hard financial stability, and that comes to everybody, no matter who it is. There can ‘t be a difference in how we treat some people and how we treat others. I’m not saying he should have the same raises as the personnel, because looking at that a s a barometer as where we want to go because I think Bill as done a good job. But I think when we talk about other raises, we should look at [raises] within our own house. If we can’t control our own house, we can’t throw stones at our neighbor’s house.”
Selectmen put forth a notice of interest for Ross’s new contract (as has Ross) in the winter, which means the process has begun for negotiations into Ross’s next contract with the town for the town manager position.