NEW BRITAIN - The Common Council will discuss potential compensation increases for several elected positions next week during its final meeting of 2018.
With a neutral recommendation Wednesday night, the Common Council’s Committee on Administration, Finance and Law forwarded to the full council a resolution advising a salary increase of at least 5 percent for the positions of mayor, tax collector, town and city clerk, registrar of voters and corporation counsel. The report was drafted after three meetings of the council’s Compensation Committee, which consisting of Aldermen Aram Ayalon, Richard Reyes and Daniel Salerno.
In preparing its recommendations, the Compensation Committee heard from several elected and appointed officials and researched the compensation of similar positions in other municipalities. According to data from the city’s budget books, many of the positions discussed hadn’t received compensation increases in 10 to 14 years.
Alderman Carlo Carlozzi, who sat on the last Compensation Committee in 2015, said the council now needs to negotiate an actual compensation increase, if any, for these positions.
“Your caucus will be meeting, my caucus will be meeting, and I’m hoping that the leadership then can have a discussion prior to the council meeting on a good compromise of what everyone’s comfortable with, if they’re comfortable at all,” Carlozzi said to Salerno.
Alderman Daniel Salerno initially hoped to amend the resolution to increase the 5 percent minimum, but no motion was made. Salerno said it would make up for the previous inaction from 2015’s report.
“Why I encourage that … I’m pushing the reality that if we go for something a little better than at least that compromise can be better made at the council level,” Salerno said.
Alderman Francisco Santiago, who is not on the committee, said he didn’t think the city has the financial capabilities to give raises to these positions right now.
“You guys are making some good points … but you’ve got to look at where we are as a city: we don’t have that money you’re talking about, even at 5 percent,” Santiago said.
Salerno told The Herald last week that the total amount of the Compensation Committee’s recommendation, at 5 percent, would amount to about $46,000.
Carlozzi was initially unsure that the council could act on a resolution before the end of the year. The city’s charter was amended last year to read that the council must “review, establish and act upon, in even-numbered years, the rates of compensation for” all the positions named above.
Nonetheless, the aldermen unanimously voted to forward the resolution back to the Common Council with a neutral recommendation.
Before the vote on the resolution, the Committee on Administration, Finance and Law unanimously decided to take two bullet point recommendations out of the report.
The recommendation left in the report states that it may be advisable to provide 1 percent raises every two or three years to compensate for longevity, since the positions listed above have not received compensation increases in many years.
The full council can do anything with the amended version of the Compensation Committee’s report - it can accept it and do nothing with the recommendations, approve the recommendations or even make their own changes to percentages.
The Common Council will next meet at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12.
The compensation increases wouldn’t go into effect until November except for the registrar of voters, whose increase would come in January, Carlozzi said.
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.