March 11, 2009

Councilors refuse to cut own pay

Faced with the chance to freeze or cut the salaries of the city’s elected officials this week, city councilors did nothing.

Three councilors sought to impose a two-year freeze on pay for those elected this November, but three others voted against it.

The trio who opposed it said they want to see a pay cut instead, an idea that couldn’t muster support from the three who backed a freeze.

One city councilor, Democrat Craig Minor, missed the meeting.

But it’s not clear which way he would have gone.

“I need to know more before I make a decision,” Minor said Wednesday.

The city’s Salary Committee recommended freezing the pay of elected officials for the next term, a move that hasn’t been done in years.

But city Councilors Cliff Block and Ken Cockayne said they want to see salaries cut back by 3 percent for the mayor, city councilors, treasurer and Board of Assessment Appeals members.

Block said that officials had no idea “the sky was going to fall” on the economy last year when they agreed to hike elected officials’ pay by 3 percent in 2008. Reeling it back down, he said, would set the right example for the rest of city government.

Cockayne said that Bristol’s leaders should show “they are willing to take a cut” and not just hold the line on increases.

Three officials – Mayor Art Ward and city Councilors Frank Nicastro and Mike Rimcoski – said that freezing pay was the right move for the times.

Nicastro told Ward that as the city’s leader, he earns his money.

“You’re far from the highest paid” municipal worker, Nicastro told the mayor, pointing out that the Top 50 earners all raked in substantially more than the mayor.

City Councilor Kevin McCauley said he didn’t think the council could take up the idea of reducing pay because the salary panel had been told to consider a freeze. He said the committee should have a chance to reexamine options.

The issue is likely going to be taken up again at the May council meeting. If nothing is done, though, the pay would remain the same for the next term.

The city is obligated to set the salary for elected officials before the municipal elections so that voters will know how much the people they choose will earn. The pay rates can’t be changed mid-term.

Rimcoski told Block that he had a chance to freeze pay, but refused.

“I hope you enjoy your 300 extra bucks, Mike,” Block responded.\

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

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sure the taxpayers are being hit on all sides and the "fat-Cats" refuse a pay cut. Time for their butts to go!

Anonymous said...

How transparent can they be? Kenny and Blockhead are soooooo pathetic.

Come On November said...

block and cockayne playing "cat and the fiddle" for reelection time and mccayley still can't make up his own mind. How utterly sad.

Anonymous said...

guess Zoppo was right, Ward only wanted the job to increase his pension. He won't even take a small pay cut.

Anonymous said...

Yep increasing his pension so he can walk around and laugh at the rest of us struggling.

OOps said...

block has no idea as to anything falling, let alone the sky.

get a clue said...

does the president or senators etc. take a pay cut? are the rest of the big buck people on the city wage list gonna take a cut?
block is just doing zoppo's work, cockayne is an election dough-boy and mccauley tries to be an opportunist but can't do it alone.
3 rats posing as 3 blind mice.

Embarrassed for you said...

"Yep increasing his pension so he can walk around and laugh at the rest of us struggling."
______________________________

Yep, you guessed it! All these years of service to our Country and to our community just so he can increase his pension...

Oh, he may be laughing, but it's probably over the incredibly stupid and pointless comments that some pathetic loser posted on this blog...(that'd be you). LOL!!!!

Anonymous said...

Every manager at city hall plus every elected official should have their pay cut by some %. If managers don't want a pay cut - then it shows you they don't care if they lose their jobs. Elected officials should do it because if managers do it then elected officials should just follow suit.

Anonymous said...

This administration, I won't say led by Ward, doesn't have a clue!

Too bad there are not enouigh good people coming forward to challenge them!

Odin said...

Get a Clue: are you trying to be clever? Because it isn't working. What does it mean, "Block is doing Zoppo's work"? I would take it as a compliment since Zoppo always did the work of three councilMEN. What "opportunities" has McCauley tried to exploit? The Republican-induced devastation of the economy? GASB 45? Spell it out for me, please.

Anonymous said...

GREED!

Anonymous said...

They don't get paid enough to put up with all the nonsense from their know-nothing constituents. Give them a three percent raise.

Anonymous said...

Hamzy took a pay cut.

I think Block offering this is great! Leaders by example are the best kind.

Concerned Conservative said...

How can anyone find fault in what Block and Cockayne have proposed? Anything but agreement is dictated by greed...Odin.

This is a good example being set by Block and Cockayne. All state, federal and municipal employees should conceed to a pay freeze if not a pay cut. Kudos to Block and Cockayne

Anonymous said...

Cockayne has started his re-election campaign....how pathetic. Hopefully, Bristol residents see through his politically motivated BS.

Anonymous said...

My issue is with Nicastro. I think an interesting feature story to follow up on this story would be the amount of taxpayer money he has earned over the last 20 year or maybe more since I don't know when he started but even before we paid him as an elected official he was a city employee. If he ever worked private secter, i can't recall it.

Anonymous said...

Leave Zoppo out of this. She would be the first to agree that the mayor's office is a 24 hour a day job and I agree with Odin - she did do the work of 3 councilman and if some of them are still consulting her then that is good for all of us. But stop blaming her for everything except what she should be blamed for - leaving the council and leaving us with Cockayne. For that, i will never forgive her.

figures said...

wonder if block has volunteered to take a pay cut at his job or that cookayne has lowered his companie's fees to his clients or that mccauley and his fireman buddies will be volunteering to take any pay cut - what a bunch of hypocrits.

Anonymous said...

First of all, three of them voted for a pay cut. That includes McCauley although Steve clearly messed that one up and forgot to put him in and a vote for a pay decrease. Secondly, to say that "their butts should go" is absolutely stupid! Get a grip!! They want pay cuts. What more do you want? Honestly, it's disgusting the way people are. Either way, the citizens are in a win-win here. They will either cut the pay or freeze it. Let's stop spinning it the wrong way, shall we?

By the way, I find it extremely humorous that you would call this people "fat cats". They get paid $10,000 A YEAR!!! Considering all the flak and negative press they tend to get, I hardly consider that making someone a "fat cat" nor do I think it's even worth it for them to stick their necks out when their heads are, time and time again, chopped off!

Anonymous said...

McCauley wants to work less hours, if they can get it at the same pay!

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiousity, how many of you have offered your employer the willingness to take a pay cut?
Or how many of you have volunteered your time to the town to help keep other costs down? Do you mentor? Do you read to kids? Do you help with friends of the library? Do you help pick up litter? Anything?
Or do you just sit your backsides and snip and complain.
A pay freeze is still a step to helping control costs.
What are you willing to do?

Anonymous said...

How anyone is hammering these guys at all is laughable. They are trying to lead by example which essentially is the best way to lead. Sure it appears Block, McCauley and Cockayne are trying to out do the rest of them, but they are putting their money where there mouth is. Who cares - we win either way. Personally I like the idea of the pay cut. Sure - question their motivation all you want, but they are showing empathy for the rest of us that are losing jobs, making concessions, etc. This is a great bold move.

Anonymous said...

Managers should take a pay cut now - without a doubt their will be cuts next year

Anonymous said...

Let me tell you something - we offered to help clean the parks, city etc...and the UNIONS were up in arms because the volunteers were taking hours from the city workers! Unions need to cut back big time.

Anonymous said...

First of all, Block is the one that suggested the pay cut. Cockayne and McCauley felt it was probably a good idea. I do not see any "agendas" here on anyone's part. They're just trying to do what's best for the city, but, as usual, they are chewed up and spit out for it. Give me a break!!

The previous poster was right. Why don't some of you people put your money where your mouth is and ask for a pay cut instead of nagging about something that will clearly benefit the people whichever way it goes.

Also, it would actually be a double pay cut because the next administration elected in 2009 was supposed to be getting a 3 percent increase. The freeze would essentially not allow that to happen and with the 3 percent cut proposed by Block, it would amount to a total of 6 percent.

Why don't the first few posters do their homework before they spout off.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of hypocrites, 9:05 poster, have you taken a pay cut? If you have, that's great. If you haven't, you have no room to talk. I don't know what Block does. I do know Cockayne sells insurance and how he gets paid, I assume, is through commission and during these tough times I'm sure he's not raking in the dough. As far as McCauley, he is governed by the union and does not control the union. He gets paid what was negotiated through the union and the city of which he was not a part of those negotiations so I don't fault him for what he gets paid. If you want to blame city union wages on anyone, blame it on the negotiators. Look at the top money makers in this city. That should open your eyes as to who gets paid the most money and I certainly see a lot of management in that group NOT governed by the unions.

What I see, as far as some of the posters on this blog, are a bunch of jealous whiners that would rather stick their heads in a hole instead of find out the real truth. It's so easy to sit back in your comfy chair and criticize when you're not out making a difference.

In fact, I find it sooo funny that the ones being criticized the most are the ones who want to cut the pay. Let me think now ... a freeze in pay or a pay cut ... hmmm ... which would I prefer? There's really something wrong with this picture!

Ugggglllyy said...

1:01pm - the only thing wrong with this picture is that you are in it.

Anonymous said...

The Ward supporters are ridiculous! I voted for Ward, but I'm not a zealot. You people are crazy! He offered a pay freeze - great move! The others offered a pay cut - equal in not better move. This is politics! Everyone, including Ward is continually campaigning and jockeying for a better position. If we get some benefits out of their campaigning or pandering or whatever you want to call it, then great. This is one thing that none of us should be hammering people over, we win either way.

Anonymous said...

1:01, are you a city worker? you sound like one.

Anonymous said...

Blockhead and Cocayne are PANDERING.

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

I would take a pay freeze or a cut if it meant NOT to be unemployed! But the union protected public employees rarely ever have to deal with that.

Perhaps you missed the part that the organization which employs these people must have to raise taxes to balance their budgets? Perhaps you missed the part about the state being billions of dollars in debt?

WAKE UP!

Anonymous said...

I don't care how you spin it. I like the pay cut. It shows empathy. And like the other poster said leading b example is the only way to lead. Boo Ward and hooray for Block and Cocaine.

Anonymous said...

If Block and Cockayne are pandering, then what is Ward doing?

1. Sucking up to the Unions

2. Giving away the candy store, except his $103,000

3. He has no clue

4. Nothing

5. All of the above

Anonymous said...

6:08 -

6. Probably laughing his ass off at your silly, childish, pointless comments.

I vote for #6 (and I'm doing the same).

Anonymous said...

I vote for # 6 too 7:28!

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight, when Block does it is pandering, but when Ward does it it is good leadership? OK now I get it. All of Ward's decisions are appropriate and not influenced by anybody or anything or any group. They are simply made with rational, well thought out logic for what is in the best interest of Bristol every time. Wow, I thought the Messiah was in the oval office. Thank God of Art Ward. Bristol will be leading the charge out of this recession. There are brighter days ahead!

Anonymous said...

"All of Ward's decisions are appropriate and not influenced by anybody or anything or any group. They are simply made with rational, well thought out logic for what is in the best interest of Bristol every time"

Yup, sounds like you've finally got it right. Good for you!

Anonymous said...

Moving Bristol for Ward's cronies.

Anonymous said...

Jeez Ward can do no wrong with you people! I think he is doing alright, but lets not get crazy! He definitley sides with his union guys on almost everything. He needs to bite the bullet on a couple of things here and there and make a tough decision, but he won't. It's the same as always with this town we don't have any good choices and we are stuck with the tickets that are put up. It would be great to have someone who has a little more business experience and is not afraid to make tough decisions.

Anonymous said...

This has nothing to do with unions. This has nothing to do with politics. Why can't people just look at this as our political leaders trying to help the citizens out? Why does it always have to be that they're out to do something for themselves? I don't care who is in office. Anyone elected would have done the same thing and don't tell me otherwise.

In my opinion this is not a political move. Let's take all we can get, but if you idiots keep on complaining, then nothing will be done. In fact, those who are complaining about the either pay cut or freeze should just show up at the council meeting and show your face and complain publically. Yeah, right ... when hell freezes over!

Hey March 12 2:18 poster ... that's a typical response from people like you when you have no argument. The facts shall set you free or in this case, totally piss you off!

Anonymous said...

You had a good man, and didn't support him.

So stop complaining.

Anonymous said...

Stortz wasn't so bad after all!

Anonymous said...

We need Stortz back. His hard nosed style is necessary in a time like this. At least he wasn't afraid to make the hard decisions.

Anonymous said...

And he knew the city budget: that is why Klocko din't want Ward to put him on the BOF!