Highway Crew In Near-Poverty As Town Officials Get Raises
Edition of Thursday-Friday, Nov. 27-28, 2014
To the Editor:
Now is the time of year when towns approve their annual budgets for the coming year, and Town of Otsego residents should be aware of what was approved on Nov. 12. Raises have been awarded to some elected officials and part-time administrative employees, yet our hard-working, full-time, highway crew starts at a very low hourly wage, which has cost the town some good employees as they have sought better pay with neighboring Towns.
Our town clerk is scheduled to receive a raise to $26,339.00 per year for only 16 hours of work a week, plus a monthly board meeting! The assessor will receive $27,000 for office hours of one day a week for our town with a population of 3,900, compared to the Town of Oneonta at $20,808 with a population of 5229! The Town of Otsego’s part-time court clerk is to receive $23,000 PLUS an additional $4,000 for yet another part-timer to help process parking tickets for the Village of Cooperstown.
These raises come as a slap in the face to our full-time, year-‘round highway crew members who are living on the edge of poverty. One crew member spoke at the budget meeting, outlining our pay rates as compared to adjacent towns. It is pathetic that our men are paid a wage so low that they are forced live on the edge of poverty and elected officials and part-time office help receive huge wages.
The primary role of the supervisor and Town Board members is fiduciary. It seems their number one concern is the amount of solar panels needed on the Town Office Building and the relentless anti-hydrofracking drum beating. In light of all the recent court decisions defending home rule, you would think that they could clear their heads and think about their primary job – money management!