Pay rates lead to heated discussion

JOHNSTOWN – Town Board members discussed a mistake with paychecks Monday, which led to an argument between council members Daryl Baldwin and Bech Schloicka and Supervisor Nancy MacVean regarding changes in pay rates.

According to Councilman Walter Lane, he received two paychecks from the town’s bookkeeper showing he was paid more than expected. He said the checks showed he was being paid at the 2013 preliminary budget level rather than the rate the board set at its organizational meeting – $2,362.

The 2013 pay rate was set at the Jan. 7 organizational meeting, which set all of the rates at the 2012 budget level.

This year’s preliminary budget had set aside $14,075 for the supervisor and $4,989 for the budget officer – a position traditionally held by the supervisor.

But after questions about MacVean’s duties and performance in the budget officer role during the Jan. 7 organizational meeting, the board decided to not reappoint her, and also approved setting her supervisor salary at $13,663 – the same as 2012. MacVean also earns $7,505 for representing the town at the county level.

Town Board members also agreed to forgo their own raises, setting annual salaries at $2,362, with Councilwoman Tamara Healy earning an additional $500 as deputy supervisor.

“The budget is not a commitment to what we’ll pay; it’s a commitment to the top,” Councilwoman Beth Schloicka said at the January meeting, denying that MacVean’s raise – to $14,075 – was taken away.

Town Attorney Cathi Radner said the budgeted amount is the maximum amount the town will pay, and how much they give is set at the organizational meeting.

A resolution was suggested Monday by Lane to set MacVean’s salary at the preliminary budget level. However, the resolution failed.

Following heated debate regarding the pay rate for the budget officer, MacVean spoke her mind.

“This is not about a few piddly dollars, this is about disrespect to the supervisor,” MacVean said. “You [Schloicka] were the one who was screaming at me that I was no good as a supervisor or a budget officer. You tried to get me to swear at you or take a swing at you because Whizzy [Baldwin] here had a camera on me the whole time and you thought you could take me to the ethics board.”

Schloicka and Baldwin denied this, saying neither brought a camera to the board meeting.

MacVean said they wished to remove her to put a previous supervisor in place.

Schloicka said her concern about the pay was not personal, but because she felt the budget officer did not have enough responsibility to warrant the almost $5,000 pay rate.

“I don’t see [the budget officer] as being worth that,” Schloicka said.

MacVean said this was about more than the money.

“This is more than money, this is about respect,” MacVean said.

“You have to earn it,” Baldwin replied.

The board approved resolutions setting pay rates for this year at $2,362 for council members, $13,663 for the supervisor and $4,989 for the budget officer.