Town should pick seasoned person for interim TA
With Mark Rees retiring, his salary became available and, with COVID-19 presenting unique challenges (large draw on free cash) I do feel we need to proceed with caution. Critical capital planning recommendations are ahead of us (which the TA has ultimate responsibility for making) and I felt that the Town deserved to have a full complement of experienced staff/leadership at the highest level at this critical time.
Yes, I would have been willing to pay extra for a candidate who had extensive experience (often retired TA’s fill this sort of role on an interim basis).
Selectman Freitas went into negotiation with Ms. Graves on a stipend and brought that back into our Open Session for a vote.
While I was in favor of paying a seasoned person extra, I did not feel that the Town was obligated to pay that rate for someone who did not have any actual experience at the TA position and I also felt it did not make sense to pay her a rate higher than what the permanent position was being advertised for. Doing so sets up for one of two things if she is ultimately offered the fulltime position: 1) The Town would have to pay a rate $11,000 higher than what the position was advertised for on the basis of what could be just a few weeks of experience on the job, or 2) Ms. Graves would have to take an $11,000 per year equivalent pay cut to accept the salary advertised.
To explain the weighted average calculation, it showed that if she were to work 50% of her time on the old position and 50% on the new position, the equivalent hourly rate for the TA position would actually be $105 per hour or $218K per year for the hours worked in that role.
Even if she were to work 80% of her time in the new role, that equivalent TA pay would have been $86.25 per hour for the hours worked, in that role or nearly $180K equivalent annual pay for those hours worked in that role.
The person who picks up for the work she was doing at this time last year is not being compensated for their increased work load. None of this made sense to me. I do try to apply common sense.
If you want to call me a Nickel and Dimer, in this scenario, I will gladly accept that moniker. If you feel I am not doing the best for the Town of Fairhaven, I’d truly like to hear from you.
Fairhaven Selectman Bob Espindola
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