Pay raises for selectmen, department heads OK’d

The Board of Selectmen approved raises for department heads, and the next Board of Selectmen, at their meeting Wednesday.
The Board of Selectmen approved raises for department heads, and the next Board of Selectmen, at their meeting Wednesday.Genevieve Reilly / Fairfield Citizen

Pay raises were approved Wednesday for the town’s department heads and members of the Board of Selectmen — by the selectmen.

The raises approved for the first selectman and the two selectman — 2.5 percent per year — do not take effect until after the November municipal election, when all three seats on the board will be on the ballot. Their raises were recommended by an independent committee.

The first selectman’s salary is currently $131,425, while the two selectmen each receive $11,330.

For the municipal department heads, First Selectman Michael Tetreau recommended the raise amounts. The increases were based on factors such as the employee’s goals and objectives that were met, and how the department head handled various issues as they arose over the past year.

Of the town’s 15 department heads, three did not receive raises. Conservation Director Brian Carey, who was just hired, and Fire Chief Richard Felner, who is expected to retire in the fall, were not given increases.

Also not receiving a raise was Information Technology Director Donald Leslie. Leslie’s current salary is $106,100. The town recently discovered that about $1.5 million in software licensing fees had not been properly paid or tracked by his department.

This is the second year in a row that Leslie has not received a raise.

The pay increases that were approved range from a high of $4,994 for Fiscal Officer Robert Mayer, to a low of $1,836 for Chief of Staff Thomas Dubrosky.

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Department head pay raises

Salaries currently paid to municipal department heads, and their new compensation with raises approved by the Board of Selectmen:

Chief Fiscal Officer Robert Mayer: $142,710, with $4,994 raise to $147,704

Community and Economic Development Director Mark Barnhart: $125,419, with $3,762 raise to $129,181

Recreation Director Gerald Lombardo: $120,394, with $3,612 raise to $124,006

Health Director Sands Cleary: $115,381 with $3,461 raise to $118,842

Police Chief Gary MacNamara: $148,654, with $2,973 raise to $151,627

Public Works Director Joseph Michelangelo: $137,853, with $2,757 raise to $140,610

Planning and Zoning Director Joseph Devonshuk: $134,225, with $2,684 raise to $136,909

Town Librarian Karen Ronald: $119,229, with $2,385 raise to $121,614

Human Resources Director Mary Carroll-Mirylees: $117,605, with $2,352 raise to $119,957

Social/Human Services Director Teresa Giegengack: $78,030, with $2,340 raise to $80,370

Assessor Donald Ross: $116,733, with $2,334 raise to $119,067

Chief of Staff Thomas Dubrosky: $91,800, with $1,836 raise to $93,636

Conservation Director Brian Carey: $115,000, no increase

Fire Chief Richard Felner: $152,483, no increase

Information Technology Director Donald Leslie: $106,100, no increase

Tetreau said the town charter assigns the job of approving raises to the Board of Selectmen and stressed the board’s authority covers only salaries, not an employee’s benefits compensation. Benefits generally follow the terms of the mid-managers’ contract, and department heads do not receive overtime or compensatory time.

“I’m going to suggest the department heads are a critical resource to our town,” Tetreau said

Selectman Kevin Kiley suggested that a formal review process be established for determining raises, and Tetreau agreed that is something officials should work toward. Tetreau said Dubrosky has been working with department heads to help set goals and objectives, and then meeting those goals.

“Historically, the town hasn’t done a very formal process,” Tetreau said. “We still have some steps to go, but we’re much further along.”

As for the Board of Selectmen’s raises, the recommendation for the 2.5 percent increase came from a four-member committee made up of two members of the Board of Finance and two Representative Town Meeting members.

“I think we all felt a little discomfort” setting those salaries, Tetreau said, even though they will not be effective until after the elections. The selectmen serve four-year terms.

The committee looked at salaries for first selectmen/mayors in other towns in the state, and the salary increases for Fairfield’s selectmen for the last several years. “The committee was a great group and they worked hard and looked at all the facts and information,” Kiley said.

Tetreau said his first thought was that the salary recommendation was “more aggressive than I was expecting,” but changed his mind after talking to committee members and “looking at this from a position standpoint, independent of who we are.”

The committee also recommended, and the selectmen agreed, that a Charter Revision Commission should be established to “review in detail” the total compensation structure for the selectmen, including which town body should approve their salaries and benefits.