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Colton town councilman will do library step labor pro-bono

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COLTON - Colton Town Councilman Ronald Robert was set to receive a $500 labor fee for his upcoming assistance in a library step repair project, but due to looming legal issues, the payment was rescinded last week.

But he still plans to do the work without payment.

“He will be doing the work pro-bono,” Town Supervisor Dennis B. Bulger said this week. “I thought (the stipend) was just something right to do to recognize his efforts. I ran it past our town attorney just to confirm that (we could do that.)”

Mr. Robert was chosen to serve as clerk of the works for library step concrete labor at a special board meeting earlier this month before Mr. Bulger discussed the matter with town attorney Eric J. Gustafson.

“Since (last week), I have talked to our town attorney, I talked with Ronnie just before we came in tonight,” Mr. Bulger said during last week’s regular meeting. “As far as a conflict, there’s no conflict in his eyes as to Ronnie being the clerk of the works. The problem comes in with offering any additional stipend to an elected official. He said that’s not an impossibility. That is allowed, but what we would have to do in that case, we’d have to go through and come up with a town law and submit it for permissive referendum.”

Mr. Gustafson said this week that there are two ways a stipend payment to a town board member would be allowed - either by being included in the budget or by making the local town law.

“They’ve already adopted the budget for 2014 and now want to add (the stipend payment.) So they will have to go through adopting a local town law,” he said. “There’s nothing illegal or under handing about it,. It just has to be dealt with the right way.”

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