February 14, 2009

City's politicians freeze own pay, but reject effort to cut their salaries

City councilors plan to freeze the pay of Bristol’s elected leaders for the next two years, but a committee turned back an attempt to reduce salaries instead.

The three-person Salary Committee recently backed a pay freeze that would lock in this year’s salary levels through 2011.

City Councilor Frank Nicastro, who chairs the salary panel, said the freeze would send a message to taxpayers and municipal workers that Bristol’s elected leaders are ready to set an example for the sacrifices needed to get through the economic crisis.

But city Councilor Cliff Block said he would prefer to slice the pay levels by 3 percent so that election officials would make what they did in 2008.

Block argued that when the 3 percent raise for this year was set back in 2007, “we didn’t know the world was coming to an end in ’08.”

He said that nobody would have supported that increase had they known so much turmoil and heartache lay ahead.

Block said a pay cut would send an even stronger message than a freeze.

But Nicastro and the panel’s other member, city Councilor Mike Rimcoski, said that a pay freeze was enough.

Nicastro said that he’s not running for reelection so the money doesn’t matter to him at all. He said this simply a matter of conscience and fairness.

“We had a chance to make a statement,” Block said, “but I got outmaneuvered by the two older gents.”

Block said that Ward, the only elected leader to earn full-time pay, would lose about $3,000 a year the council backed a 3 percent cut.

“Art doesn’t need that other 3 grand,” Block said.

Rimcoski said he would go along with letting officials have the option of taking less money, if that’s possible.

Block said that taking less money themselves would perhaps help with efforts to push for the city’s unions to accept cuts.

But Nicastro and Rimcoski said there is no way that municipal unions would ever agree to a pay cut. A freeze, they said, is possible. But a pay cut goes too far, they said.

“I want a pay cut,” Block said.

In committee, Block was the only one to vote for the 3 percent cut. He did not join Nicastro and Rimcoski in voting for the freeze instead.

Rimcoski, the salary panel’s only Republican, said he favored a freeze because that’s what Mayor Art Ward asked the panel to do.

Nicastro said that he wouldn’t necessarily object to cutting the pay for councilors and the mayor, but it would be wrong to slice the pay of the treasurer or Board of Assessment Appeals members who earn so little now.

But the difference is minimal.

A Board of Assessment Appeals member would make $1,140 for the next two years if pay is frozen. It it’s cut 3 percent, he would get $33 a year less.

The treasurer would earn $296 less over the two years if his pay were cut 3 percent.

The Salary Committee’s pay freeze proposal heads to the council in March, where it’s possible another effort to cut the pay of elected officials may be made.

Current pay for city leaders

Mayor - $102,025

City councilors - $10,156

City treasurer - $5,079

Board of Assessment Appeals chair -- $1,343

Board of Assessment Appeals - $1,140


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Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

Frank, run for mayoer and you can give it ALL back!

Anonymous said...

So the mayor supports freezing the pay for the next elected officials? So what is he giving back?

Great job Block. That is how you set an example. Hey Art, how about your reach into your own wallet instead of other people's and put your money where your mouth is.

Anonymous said...

Hey 10:45,

How about you reach into your own wallet instead of other peoples' and put your money where your mouth is? Are you going to give back some of your earnings?

Concerned Conservative said...

The entire premise behind paying the mayor of Bristol (no matter who it is, was or will be) over $100,000 a year was/is to reach deep in the pool of potential talent. Obviously that policy is a farce because potential mayoral candidates come from the intellectually limited political class (party hacks, cronies and panderers) of Bristol. And because of the aforementioned facts, the salary of mayor should be reduced by at least 25 percent.

Concerned Conservative said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I guess thats why you lost your race for council You did not meet the min. requirements.CC you should try again.

Anonymous said...

The Council (all seven): what a bunch of ding a lings!

Anonymous said...

The entire premise behind paying the mayor of Bristol (no matter who it is, was or will be) over $100,000 a year was/is to reach deep in the pool of potential talent.

If you actually believe that that's the premise for setting the mayor's salary, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I'd like to sell you.

Anonymous said...

Councilmen make so little for all the time they put in. I agree that the freeze is enough; no need to cut salaries.

And I'm not a Councilman.

Anonymous said...

Whoa baby, I bet Councilman Block just made the Mayor's list. The mayor has never seen this much money in one paycheck. he is going to hang on for all he's got for another term. What we really need, is for candidates to run for mayor who would be taking a paycut from their private sector jobs to enter public service for the public good. Instead, we got the groups of people grabbing this brass ring way out of their class. Hardly any of the last few mayors have held any managerial posts to speak of, and it shows.

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...

Concerned Conservative:

Your opinions are as always rebuttable presumptions.

Perhaps the salary was provided to ensure that a mayor would not have to work a second job in a city that would require a full time mayor.

What disqualifies other people outside your so called "limited political class" from seeking the mayors office?

But all that aside if your qualifications were met would the salary you be okay with the salary then? Somehow I doubt it.

But then again I'm sure that in your opinion, in order for those standards to be met the mayor in question would have to be a Republican.

Oh well.

Concerned Conservative said...

I'm talking about the Mayor position, not the council...and I'm serious. Sure give the council position a little more but reduce the Mayor. I could live with that.

February 15, 2009 12:06 PM:

1) Either study much harder in school (English composition specifically) or take a similar class at Tunxis. You border on being illiterate.

2) I am neither of the three traits I mentioned of the "political class" (party hacks, cronies and/or panderers). I am merely a concerned citizen who happens to be of the conservative mindset....sorry!

Nothing changes said...

think that block is running for reelection? what a back stabbing fool, he is just trying to grandstand and make ward the patsy - another example of the 2 faced "I'm behind you Art" crap that block has practiced for the past 4 years.
block is so far behind ward that ward can't even see block's shadow.
talk about sliver lips.

Anonymous said...

So today's "the pot calling the kettle black" award goes to Concerned Conservative, to wit:

In response to an earlier poster, he states: Either study much harder in school (English composition specifically) or take a similar class at Tunxis. You border on being illiterate.

He then goes on to observe: I am neither of the three traits I mentioned of the "political class" (party hacks, cronies and/or panderers).

Permit me to point out that the use of the word "neither" in that second sentence is incorrect, because there are more than two traits being referred to; proper English would dictate the use of the word "none" instead, i.e., "I am none of the three traits...."

If you're going to criticize other posters' grammatical or similar English-language skills so harshly, I'd suggest that you get yours in order first. Or, better yet, perhaps you should just keep such observations to yourself.

Anonymous said...

Does Block take lessons from Frank, or Vice Versa?

Concerned Conservative said...

Anaowestconnliberalnaiveperson:

You are the one who is presumptuous! A rebuttable presumption? You come off as a blathering fool!

I simply don't feel either of the active people in the political class are worth $100,000 per year. You think that a 25% cut in that salary would demand a second job? What planet are you on?


February 16, 2009 9:43 AM:

Touche' and you're correct. "Neither" was an incorrect word usage. But compared to the grammar of the person who was attacking me and the fact that I was under duress defending myself against unfair, and terribly written criticism, my error is understandable and very minor. But why on earth would one go to the length you did to describe such a small error? I'd hate to have to ask you to correct something major in say the business world. Grow up!

Kid's stuff said...

10:39am - collusion or collision? frank and block in an "I love you, You love me" Barney exercise.

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...

I think a phrase like political class is a vaugue term. And I think your use of it is politically biased.

And I think the difference between a 100,000 mayor and a 10,000 councilman is the difference between a person expected to be part time and a person expected to work day to day. Reality is often different from the ideal but I don't pretend to know what's best.

If you can substantiate that 100,000/year was chosen to provide a deeper pool of talent please provide the proof.

In the meantime you haven't answered my questions. What would disqualify people outside your defined "political class" from being elected to office?

And if someone outside that political class was elected and that person came from a deeper pool of talent would you still warrant the reduction in salary?

From Wikipedia:

Both in common law and in civil law a rebuttable presumption (in Latin, praesumptio iuris tantum) is an assumption made by a court, one that is taken to be true unless someone comes forward to contest it and prove otherwise. A rebuttable presumption is often associated with prima facie evidence.

Anonymous said...

Hey 7:38 - We all already do reach into our wallets and give back. It's called taxes you idiot! They go up every year in this town if you haven't noticed.

Anonymous said...

First, Council members put their nose into more than the position, as outlined in the Charter, requires. So the "extra" time is their own problem.

Second, under the existing legislation and circumstances, electing someone, no matter their mangerial experience, would prove problematical.
The job is unique, the controls on it are unique, and it cannot be run like a private sector job.

Obama had some exposure, and has experienced staff, and he is running into many unknowns. Just think what a rookie mayor would experience. Or do you want to add 3-4 more to the staff!

Lastly, leaving a position in the private sector for what might just one term, even 4 years, would cause a sane person to give it a lot of thought.

Anonymous said...

"We all already do reach into our wallets and give back. It's called taxes you idiot! They go up every year in this town if you haven't noticed."

Cool your jets sweetheart. If we all give back in taxes, so does Ward...idiot!

Anonymous said...

3:21

Don't forget, you vote, or could have!

Why not get involved?

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...

February 16, 2009 4:15 PM

That's exactly my point. I don't understand why when a public official agrees to a salary freeze he should have a salary cut imposed upon him. It just sounds like a cheap shot at the person and city councilmen biting off their nose to spite their face.

Steve Collins said...

They wouldn't be cutting their own pay, actually. What they're talking about is setting the pay for the next City Council and mayor, since those rates have to be set before the November election.

Concerned Conservative said...

February 16, 2009 4:15 PM actually states MY point (somewhat).

The talent pool of the Bristol "political class" (for those without the ability to understand common society like "anonstudentwhocouldn'tgetintoacompetivecollege", those folks genreally are your political candidates) is limited, thus is their performance and thus should be their salaries. They have professional department heads (like the Planner, Corp. Council, Comptroller, etc.) who assist them in making their "executive decisions. And what talent pool are they coming from? Stortz went to teaching college. Nicastro is not a college grad. Ward never even came close. Where's the justification of paying someone with such a poor educational resume such a high salary? Come on now, it's ridiculous!! It's highway robbery! A 25% cut in pay is not putting any of them in the poor house either.

Anonymous said...

How many positions in the city require a college degree??

Storts had a business degree, managed data processing departments, and had done work for his MBA.

Bill Gates dropped out of Harvard.

Anonymous said...

Shame on you Cliff Block!

"Older Gentlemen"

NOT POLITICALLY CORRECT!!!

Anonymous said...

I have a college degree from a good school in New York, internship experience, and good references. I applied for an entry level type city job and never even got a response, just a rejection letter. I found out later the job went to someone with only a high school diploma and didn't even know how to use a computer, but happened to be family friends of a well known city hall worker who is politically active. This talk about a talent pool is crap.

Odin said...

"I found out later the job went to someone with only a high school diploma and didn't even know how to use a computer, but happened to be family friends of a well known city hall worker who is politically active. This talk about a talent pool is crap."

Did the job require a college degree and computer skills? If not, that may be why you didn't get it - you're overqualified and the City didn't want to spend months training you, only to lose you when the economy heats up.

Anonymous said...

10:19

And when did this happen?

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...

Concerned Conservative:

So when did Bristol government come to resemble Plato's Republic?

Fess Up or Shut Up said...

Yea 10:19 - what position was this for, who was hired and who is the "politically active' person whom you are referring to? Stand up and stop being either a whimp or a out and out liar.

poor loser said...

heard that block actually voted AGAINST the salary feeze in salary committee because they voted down his suggestion to cut salaries. how does that make sense? sounds like a poor loser to me.

Anonymous said...

2:02, I bet you'd like that person to come forward so he/she can be blackballed from ever getting a City job in the future. Why don't you identify yourself if fessing up is so important to you? Prove why we should believe you instead of someone else who is telling a very credible story.

I think I know the story in question, the job definitely called for some computer skills. As to who the connected person inside City Hall was, it's very easy to figure out if you know who has pull in the employee ranks in City Hall.

Anonymous said...

Art is trying to put more of his people on the city payroll than Nicastro did.

And that will take some doing!

Anonymous said...

Yeh, but Nicastro had more relatives working for the city.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Poor Loser: was Block a "poor loser" when he voted against the two repulbicans on the Claims Committee to put money in their pal Raymond's pocket?

Odin said...

Block was in favor of the freeze. He was making a nuanced statement by voting against it after the rest of them voted not to take him up on his rollback idea. Something that apparently went over your head.

Anonymous said...

11:50

Artie is working on that too.

Anonymous said...

I liked the way the deck chairs were!

Concerned Conservative said...

anonwestconnstudent:

Obviously I was better educated (at least in things that are relavant) than you.

Don't be so argumentive. You're probably a smart kid, but you come off as a snippy, argumentive twirp (to me at least).

AnonymousWestconnStudent said...

Don't be so argumentive. You're probably a smart kid, but you come off as a snippy, argumentive twirp (to me at least).

That's ok. You come off like that to everybody else.

Anonymous said...

Wrong again, student. CC tells it like it is.