Selectboard revisits salary scale, appoints committee members

State Police report to the town positive

By John Hammer | Contributor

The Selectboard meeting on the afternoon of May 26 moved the town one step toward resolution of the long-standing town clerk/treasurer (TC/T) salary question. While the agenda called for “Town Clerk/Treasurer—analysis of job descriptions, job grading, and pay-rate using the Palmer & Associates Job Evaluation Manual,” the meeting succeeded only in completing the first two steps. (The Palmer process is succinctly described here: bit.ly/1TKBC0P.)

The meeting began with Mary Mead reiterating her continuing request to have her pay raised to reflect the change in her job hours from 35 to 40 hours a week. The question first arose in 2014 when she requested a raise from the Selectboard. She maintained that her request for a raise was never honored in the budget submitted to and passed by the voters at that year’s Town Meeting. The resulting annual salary, which is a line item in the Town Budget, suggested a nominal drop in her perceived hourly pay rate. Mead has repeatedly brought this matter up, to no avail.

At issue is how her pay is computed, and the question seems to revolve around the fact the TC/T position is, by state statute, responsible only to the electorate and not the Selectboard. As a result, it is paid an annual salary that is not broken down into an hourly rate. The position is paid by dividing the total annual pay by the number of pay periods. Mead maintains that because her job had been increased by five hours per week, her pay rate now ought to be determined by an hourly rate times the number of hours scheduled. The sticking point stems from the designation of hours assigned to the job. The Selectboard maintains that the assignment of hours is for administrative purposes only, to account for benefits and leave computations in the accounting system. The issues are complex and, even after almost a half hour discussion, could not be resolved.

The job description and grading portion began with Mead providing more details for each job factor and providing her thoughts as to the academic degree each required. These comments were then discussed with the board members, with some input from the salary consultant, Frank Sadowski. The result was an assignment of points that equate to a grade or level on the Salary Administration Policy grid scale. This last step, while a grade of 555 was computed, will not be decided until a meeting at 3:15 p.m. on June 9, at which the board will make a vertical comparison of all other jobs in the SAP grid to ensure internal equity. Presumably when this is done, a new salary level could be assigned to the position of TC/T.

At the regular meeting on May 23, the Selectboard was occupied with a full list of less complex issues. Of greatest interest was a financial review of the 2016 Town Budget by Mead. In her report, Mead reviewed the accounts, describing and elaborating on a few variances from the budget. In the end she estimated that “If we carry on the way we are, we’ll be about even (at the end of the fiscal year).”

Tom Moreau, managing director for the Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD), presented its FY 2017 budget. Charlotte has one of 18 votes with other towns in Chittenden County. The budget of $9.6 million is not reflected directly in the Charlotte budget but in the tipping rate that is passed on to the customers. Tipping fees will be raised at drop-off centers from $3.75 to $4.75 per 33-gallon bag. The budget represents a 1.1 percent increase arising primarily through salaries and benefits plus the addition of one maintenance person. The board approved casting Charlotte’s vote for the budget as presented.

Sargeant Matt Daley of the Vermont State Police (VSP) gave the semi-annual update for patrol activity in Charlotte. He has done an analysis of last year’s calls and saw nothing really significant happening in Charlotte relative to major crime. “Nothing to be excited about,” he said. Speed continues to be a problem, and VSP will be watching more closely the roads that parallel the Route 7 reconstruction as work begins. Additional presence will also be planned for the Mt. Philo parking lot over the summer.

The five-year Burns property agricultural lease was approved for Mack Farm, Inc. The lease covers 15 acres, is limited to haying operations and is for $375 per year. In another action, the board approved, in concept, the conveyance of a conservation easement to the Vermont Land Trust on 15 acres of wooded, clay plain forest within the Burns property. The concept had been earlier approved by town voice vote in 2009.

The continuing process of developing a town trail from Mt. Philo to the West Village and thence to the Town Beach took another step forward when the Selectboard approved publishing a request for proposals to do an engineering “scoping” study for bicycles and pedestrians (see page 19). The study will be limited to the sections from Mt. Philo to the Town Hall area.

Matt Krasnow expressed a desire to prepare for next Town Meeting with respect to the new Town Charter. He would like to see the formation of a formal Charter Advisory Committee to address any unanticipated issues arising from the charter and how it affects voting on town funds. He was tasked with developing a committee purpose statement and potential plan for the June 13 meeting.

The new zoning administrator, Joe Rheaume, was approved for attendance, with the town’s attorney, at the forthcoming Old Lantern mediation meeting.

The brush-hogging bid for 2017 was accepted from Mow, Mow, Mow, Inc. for $2,235 with extra hourly rates set at $30/hour.

The town will request “intervener” status in the hearing for a solar farm to be installed by Peck Electric. The farm will be located on Route 7 south of its intersection with State Park Road. The principal concern is that it is within the viewscape of the Mt. Philo scenic overlook.

The following positions on town commissions and committees were approved:

Abby Foulk was reappointed as Charlotte’s representative to the CSWD for the term ending May 2018; Rachel Stein was appointed as Charlotte’s alternate representative to the CSWD for the term ending May 2018; David Ziegelman was reappointed to the Trails Committee for the term ending April 2018 and Bill Kallock was reappointed to the Energy Committee for the term ending April 2018.

The next regular meeting of the Selectboard will be held on June 13.

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