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Town Council Approves Raises for Elected Positions

Town Clerk Marsha Beno expresses disappointment that increases for her position and the office of tax collector were not higher.

Town Council members unanimously approved salary increases for elected positions on Monday night, including first selectman, town clerk, tax collector and treasurer. The raises will not kick in until the January after the next municipal election.

First Selectman Steve Vavrek had turned down a raise two years ago, and the council approved a 2% raise for the position's $87,251 salary on Monday.

The position of treasurer received a 2 percent raise over the $10,384 salary, and four percent raises were approved for the town clerk and tax collector — both positions pay $55,623 a year.

The council can only approve raises for elected positions once every two years.

"These are for the position, not the person," Town Councilman J.P. Sredzinski said of the raises. "It's not a reflection on the person holding the office. In my opinion, all of these positions are underpaid."

Sredzinski said he believes the town should raise the salaries in "bites" in hopes they will become more competitive to attract future candidates.

'I Must Convey My Disappointment'

Prior to the council's vote, Town Clerk Marsha Beno told reporters that in the past six years she has gotten only one raise, which was 2%.

"Now our benefits take away half of the increase we've gotten over the past 10 years," Beno said of rising employee contributions for health insurance.

In comparison to her 2% increase, she said the Town Hall Clerical Union  received a 12.75% increase over the past six years, and the Town Hall Supervisors Union received 8% over the past 5 years.

Beno said the salaries for both the town clerk and tax collector are the lowest department head salaries at town hall and among the lowest when compared to their counterparts in other towns.

The town clerk salary in Norwalk is $86,000, Stamford $109,249 and New Milford $66,854, according to Beno.

Towns will similar populations to Monroe include:

  • Avon, population 18,098, salary $76,855
  • Waterford, population 19,517, salary $76,999
  • Rocky Hill, population 19,709, salary $87,840
  • Clinton, population 13,360, salary $62,875

In a statement she asked Town Council Chairwoman Enid Lipeles to read into the record, Beno pointed out that the Registrar of Voters received "a well deserved double digit increase" two years ago, so the council could vote for higher increases for tax collector and town clerk.

"I must convey my disappointment," she wrote. "... I hope you might consider a higher increase."

When talking to reporters, Beno pointed out that the office of tax collector brings in the town's most revenue and the office of town clerk the second most.

"We need people who are competent and professional to run our departments," she said. "I just feel that the positions are very unappreciated."

Walt February 27, 2013 at 12:47 PM
Town employees in Monroe could probably qualify for food stamps.
Alex February 27, 2013 at 01:51 PM
The salaries are definitely on the lower side, however I see no mention of benefits? Do any of these positions have a pension benefit? That should be considered when looking at compensation.
Jenna February 27, 2013 at 02:17 PM
You can not compare Monroe to cities like Norwalk and Milford. They are much larger and have a higher population. They do more work, therefore should get paid more. If you don't want your job there's another person waiting right behind you more than willing to take it I'm sure.
Joe Majersky February 27, 2013 at 03:16 PM
My wife was laid off 6 monthe ago. She has a finance background she would be more than happy to apply if they are not happy working for the town at their present salary.
Joe Majersky February 27, 2013 at 03:20 PM
oops! I ment months ago.
Donna Gail February 27, 2013 at 04:09 PM
Even considering the size of Monroe, these two positions are still underpaid. Most of the other dept heads make considerably more. If you compare the increases other employees received (from the article) to what they've received, it does look like they are being shortchanged. I don't think that means they are ready to jump ship - just disappointed.
QWERTY February 27, 2013 at 05:27 PM
Pointing to "bad behavior" now justifies one's own? If you don't like the pay, find another job. I do recall this town not collecting from residents who were to pay for a water line install. Did we ever find the cause of that? I was never told so I can only make assumptions since the cause was quickly swept under the rug. Why reward employees who aren't doing their job?
Nancy B. February 27, 2013 at 05:34 PM
Pay increases for town employees but not for the librarians.......hmmm
Walt February 27, 2013 at 06:05 PM
This show reminds me of monroe http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtJAvy1qMB0
Alex February 27, 2013 at 06:55 PM
I thought the part-time librarians are getting a raise to $12/hr, no?
Rt25 February 27, 2013 at 07:16 PM
Pay too low. Disappointed. Not appreciated. Then, both of you, spruce up your resumes and apply for other employment. Town Clerk, apply at one of the town's you mentioned that pays better. Why do you stay? And, please dont say its because I love the town and the people - because that is just being a phony. Fact is, you both stay because you are not likely to find it so easy to find a job paying that salary, with benefits, with all your perks, and you answer to no one. Why not be honest.
Paul February 27, 2013 at 07:17 PM
Isn't the key word "elected." Last time I checked, no one forces you to take the position. Here's a solution, don't run, go work somewhere else.
Jim beam February 27, 2013 at 08:14 PM
And we the sheeple pay. Cry me a river, elected officials. As Paul stated, don't run if you don't like the compensation. This town will take and take and take from taxpayers unless we just say, "no!" These people have no shame. Republican or Democrat doesn't matter because, once in office, it becomes all about benefiting their own self-interest. It's predictable but tiresome, nonetheless. The Town Clerk's comments in this article are especially obnoxious. But people will continue to vote for her because of the "R" after her name. I guess we deserve all that is handed to us.
jim laguardia February 27, 2013 at 09:16 PM
asking for a raise should not be a problem, (isnt that part of the free market?) but getting the raise AND then complaining about it... then i can understand people being rubbed the wrong way about that.
Peg February 27, 2013 at 09:17 PM
Time's are hard for everyone... SS finally gave a tiny cost of living raise after years of no raise...
Vera Karger February 27, 2013 at 09:51 PM
Perhaps some of these comments could be less harsh. These ARE your fellow citizens.
jim laguardia February 27, 2013 at 10:09 PM
the raise is in the budget (for now) but it may not be the $12 as reported
Non-Fiction February 27, 2013 at 11:01 PM
Vera are you serious? You bash parents and children in your letters to the editor. Are you upset because Republicans are being criticized?
M. Earls February 28, 2013 at 12:47 AM
I just took at 7.8% pay cut to work at a job 40 miles from home. I'd have been thrilled to get a 2% increase.
Jim beam February 28, 2013 at 04:42 AM
The arrogance of these officials is stunning but not unexpected. They know they'll be reelected because of party affiliation. Voters in Monroe are nothing if not predictable. As long as Marsha Beno wants the job, she can have it because voters walk into the voting booth and don't consider the issues, merely whether the candidate is a Republican or Democrat. However insulting Beno is to taxpayers doesn't matter. She'll be reelected. She'll eventually get that "well deserved double digit increase", too. On our tab. Of course she will. She's an "R" right? And Vavrek has the credit card called the property tax that he can spend as much as he likes. What's a few mill rate increase amongst friends, right? He'll get that 4-wheel drive next year. Monroe voters deserve everything that's heaped upon us because we allow it.
Rt25 February 28, 2013 at 12:55 PM
I too took a decrease in net pay when my health care insurance increased and my employer passed it on to me with no increase in pay. I travel 40+ miles each way to maintain my job as well. I'm grateful I have a job with health insurance for me and my family. I'm really tired of these municipal employees, really very very sick of it. Look around and count your blessings and stop the insanity about your position and being unappreciated - it doesn't carry any weight in these times.
Big Boy March 01, 2013 at 10:53 AM
I don't ever remember seeing a "D" name on the ballot come voting time for these positions. Perhaps it's because they both do an excellent job regardless of being a "R" or "D".

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