Fewer dollars for city clerk

It’s not fair to lower city clerk’s salary but not city treasurer’s salary, clerk says
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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Auburn’s city clerk will make less money starting in December 2012. City Council voted Monday night to lower the city clerk’s salary from $270 a month to $200. The clerk’s salary will also no longer include health benefits or additional money for call-outs. Call-outs are extra assignments given to the city clerk beyond the normal duties of attending City Council meetings and managing meeting minutes. These extra assignments happen about once a month, said Bob Richardson, Auburn city manager. Joseph Labrie is Auburn’s current city clerk. His salary is $10,655 a year. Labrie was first elected in 2000. The position will once again be up for election in December 2012. Labrie said lowering the salary of the city clerk but not that of the city treasurer did not make sense. “This started in March,” Labrie said. “It’s been going on for three months now. Now it’s back to the Council to lower the pay of the city clerk, but not the treasurer. There is an issue of fairness under the law here.” In a motion made by Councilman Kevin Hanley and supported by all City Council members except Mayor Bridget Powers, city staff was also directed to rewrite the ordinance stating the duties of the city clerk. “I think the ordinance should reflect what the city clerk does exactly,” Hanley said. The rewritten ordinance will come before the Council in a future meeting. During the City Council meeting Richardson described the responsibilities shared between Labrie and Deputy City Clerk Amy Lind. “The city clerk ensures the (City Council) meetings are taped, provides those tapes to the deputy city clerk who makes sure they are transcribed,” Richardson said. Councilman Mike Holmes said in past meetings the Council had discussed making the city clerk position appointed rather than elected. “It was Council’s desire not to move in that direction, but to look at the compensation package for the city clerk,” Holmes said. Labrie and George Williams, Auburn City Treasurer, both took voluntary 10 percent pay cuts, according to Richardson. Councilman Keith Nesbitt said a reason for the exclusion of the treasurer from the salary debate could be that the treasurer has more certifications. Holmes said he has been told the deputy city clerk is within a year of being certified, but Labrie is not making certification attempts. City Attorney Michael Colantuono said the only qualifications needed for city clerk and city treasurer are that they be registered voters within the city of Auburn. Holmes said the position’s salary should reflect that the clerk usually only comes in for City Council meetings. “What I’m concerned about is … members of the city council who are out in the public … put in a great deal of time with the public trying to understand what their wants and desires are and so forth,” Holmes said, “whereas the city clerk does not have that responsibility and does not have that function. I think the compensation needs to be adjusted to reflect what the city clerk does.” In other business City Council: · Approved a change in the sewer usage rate increase schedule. The monthly rate will remain at $56.25 for the 2010/2011 fiscal year, which was the rate for 2009/2010. Possible rate increases for following years will go before the Council in future meetings. · Approved the Public Works Department to go forward with its plan to repave several city streets. The overlay project has a budget of $616,000. Portions of several streets are scheduled for the project including: Auburn-Folsom Road, Sunrise Ridge Circle, East Lincoln Way, Oak Street, Grace Street, Huntley Avenue and more. · Approved the continuation of 10 percent pay cuts for City Council members, the city manager, department directors and department managers for the 2010/2011 fiscal year. Reach Bridget Jones at