NORFOLK - The Norfolk Town Board held its first budget workshop of the year Monday, and the majority of the council members were adamant that salary increases for town employees should be the same across the board
Town Supervisor Charles A. Pernice says that the evenly distributed raises will be difficult to maneuver though, especially considering that highway workers are typically covered under a three-year contract.
“I can tell you the highway guys have already been told not to expect a raise this year (2015) because under contractual obligations they received their raise one year where nobody else did. So I thought it was only fair for the first year to be a 0 percent increase for them,” Mr. Pernice said.
“But we do have to negotiate a contract (and) that’s going to be my stance with them - that there was a year around 2012 where nobody else got a raise and they did.”
“(The three- year contract) shouldn’t be held against them because that was their contract. We shouldn’t hold it against them for the next (three) years,” Councilman Kevin Enslow said.
“If you guys want to do something different than I would that’s fine,” Mr. Pernice responded.
Town officials discussed what steps and possible changes may need to be madein the 2015 spending plan with Budget Officer William E. Dashnaw, who said that the board will still have chances in September, October, and November to complete the spending plan.
“This is the last year (of the highway contract.) So it was 2012, 2013, and 2014. Now we have to negotiate 2015, 2016, and 2017,” Mr. Pernice explained.
“I understand what’s being said. Personally I just think it should be straight across the board - everybody who works for the town gets the raise. This way nobody gets left out,” Mr. Enslow answered.
“I understand, but one group’s on this contract and nobody else is,” the supervisor countered.
Mr. Dashnaw told the board that when all is said and done he needs to produce a budget that is realistic.
“So the budget is not the reflection of the actual increase as far as highway is concerned. As far as the board and stuff like that, I can get at you because you don’t have the contract. You’re going to tell me what it is that the board members are going to get so I can factor that in. That’s a direct increase because that’s a stand alone number,” he said.
“With the highway department, we have it in several areas. Let’s take winter maintenance - we have no clue how many hours, how much overtime is in winter maintenance. So I have to have a factor in there that’s going to cover you for whatever that winter is going to bring us.”
Councilmen Robert J. Harvey and Donald I. Purvis were in agreement with Mr. Enslow on the raises for all town employees.
“If it’s not town wide, I don’t think anybody should get (raises,)” Mr. Harvey said.
“I don’t want to give this one 2 percent, this one 5 percent, this one here 20 percent. If the board decides that we want to give raises this year, whatever number we come up with, it’s across the board,” Mr. Purvis said.
Mr. Pernice reminded the board that it won’t be that simple.
“The problem is, when you do a three-year contract for the highway department, you’ve got to look three years down the road,” he said. “Across the board doesn’t work.”
“I’m just saying I’m in agreement with Bob. I’m not trying to make a debate out of it,” Mr. Purvis answered.