Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Selectman Salaries

This article on the salaries of First Selectman is a few days old, but still worthy of attention and discussion. Simsbury's Board of Selectman recently voted to give their First Selectman Thomas Vincent a 13.4 percent raise, meaning he'll now earn $110,000 a year. His new salary is compared to that of other First Selectmen and Mayors around the state.

There is a lengthy discussion about the size of towns, but not what their annual budget is. I would think the latter would be a larger influence on an elected official's salary. There's also very little mention of a town or city's cost of living.

The biggest proponent of the increase was David Ryan, Vincent's opponent in the last election.

Ryan said he doubts he will run for first selectman again, but as chairman of the Democratic town committee he is responsible for helping to find a candidate to run in this affluent, solidly Republican town. A good salary attracts better candidates, he said, especially considering the cost of living in Simsbury and the lack of job security inherent in politics.


He has a point. When it comes to compensation any organization is going to get what they pay for. I also wonder if a higher starting salary would encourage potential candidates who are less affluent to run for office.


Source
Spencer, Mark. "First Selectman's Salary Reaches Big-City Level". Hartford Courant. 07/02/2006

16 comments:

CC said...

This is an excellent post. I do, however, take issue (albeit a minor one) with the Courant's representation that Simsbury is a "solidly Republican town." Democrat (and candidate for Lieutenant Governor) Mary Glassman was mayor for eight years, 1991-1999. More recently, in 2004 the town voted for Sen. John Kerry.

Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

CC said... ...."
Democrat (and candidate for Lieutenant Governor) Mary Glassman was mayor for eight years, 1991-1999. More recently, in 2004 the town voted for Sen. John Kerry



The place has really gone to seed eh?

Anonymous said...

Ned Lamont should start off as a First Selectman and then run for congress.

BRubenstein said...

ACR LMAO Johhny Appleseed dressed like a hippie and dodged the draft in his time...i bet he was a Democrat. !!!!!!!!!

BRubenstein said...

There is a catch 22 regarding salaries for elected office...they should be paid well enough to avoid anyone from stealing but not enough that it would ever replace the private enterprise experience.

While i understand you cant stop "larceny in the heart" i have to believe that low pay drives away talent...hell..i know it does..i tried to recruit folks to run for office and they told me that they make double and triple in their jobs and wouldn't run..plus they didnt want the public exposure of their private lives open to everyone.

I chaired The Compensation Commission of Elected Officials and Judges for years, until 2003...we set the salaries for all the constitutional officers..all state reps and senators and all the Judges...we increasingly lost talented lawyers who wouldnt agree to be a Judge for such a drop in pay...the same with the other positions...If you want top talent and competance then you have to pay for it...

cgg said...

There is a catch 22 regarding salaries for elected office...they should be paid well enough to avoid anyone from stealing but not enough that it would ever replace the private enterprise experience.

Theft hadn't even entered my mind Bruce. That's also a good point.

Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

cgg said... "
Theft hadn't even entered my mind Bruce. That's also a good point."


That's where Rowland's troubles began. The pay was awful and his alimony took almost half of it.

While that doesn't justify a thing, he did find himself painted into a corner.

Trouble was he did it to himself and made terrible choices as to how to remedy the situation.

Public office should never be the road to riches. (but too often it is)

That said, one shouldn't lose their shirt due to public office.

Ask any state rep what they spend a year on non-reimbursed expenses like flowers alone. It's a rare state rep that isn't spending several thousand a year on what would seem trivial expenses.....until you add them all up.

The best state rep I ever knew was a Republican union card carrying blue collar worker who wore a shirt to work with his name on it.

He absolutely knew his district and connected with his constituents. The job cost him an average of 5000 a year. He simply put in the overtime and budgeted that amount.

It always struck me as unfair that he was in the ring with a lot of wealthier people that didn't have to go to work at 3am on Saturdays to keep up appearances.

Genghis Conn said...

ACR,

And that's why I'm in favor of a modest pay raise for state legislators. I have often thought about running for office, but right now I just can't afford the pay cut. And I'm a librarian--I'm not actually making much money at all!

BRubenstein said...

Additionally...there are some of us that wouldnt ever run because of the huge pay cut we would have...

Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

Genghis Conn said... " I'm a librarian--I'm not actually making much money at all!"


I'm aware.

20 years ago we were looking for a librarian and the trade journal (whateveritscalled) refused the ad as the pay was so lousy.

Fortunate for us we had a newly minted member of the state senate still on the library board. He was able to get to the town council and make a serious, long overdue correction.

There certainly are some wildly overpaid public employees; and most of would probably agree on which one's those are by 80% or more.
OTOH...there's those others that we're treating not so well.

way2moderate said...

GC -- you correctly assess that salaries can be a serious and legitimate issue of concern for elected officials and the public that elects them. For better or worse, Rowland's problems arose largely from his meager salary as governor. He arguably made a bad call by not allowing the CGA to raise his salary in '98; a worthwhile salary is a step in the right direction when looking for an undistracted and upstanding elected official focused on the public good.

ct_husky said...

This whole issue really is quite the double-edged sword. However, another aspect is the barrier to entry that current pay levels cause in regards to younger folks (like myself) who would love nothing more than to head down the path of elected public service. The like y'all have mentioned (notably GC and BR), the "part-time" status and subsequent pay of state legislators necessitates having another job so that one can still manage to scrape by. This is a hefty deterrent for those who want to enter the field who either a) do not have the outside job security or b) simply don't have the money to afford it from the outset. All in all, its quite unfortunate as such a direct role in government should not have that type of entry barrier.

bluecoat said...

Rowland had a free house and an 80K salary; come on; he was a crook, period.

Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

bluecoat said... "
Rowland had a free house and an 80K salary; come on; he was a crook, period.
"

Not to defend him but you're missing some key facts.

His salary was under 80; he was making alimony payments of 30.

Do you have any idea how much it costs to hold office?

Are you laboring under the delusion that when a party regular passes on the flowers from the Govs office are paid for with some magic fund?

Once again - this is not to defend Johnny Boy; but to simply point out some cold facts.

bluecoat said...

I am aware of all that; and along with his salary he had a cadillac state benefits plan and a chauffer who helped took him to buy a motorcycle in Monroe; and a mansion where he could play poker and who knows how much his friends let him win; but he knew what was involved and he kept running for office; maybe we need to have a politicians anonymous like we have alcoholics anonymous; OH, and he never sent me flowers either...

Authentic Connecticut Republican said...

bluecoat said... "
and he never sent me flowers either...
"

Ya have to die to get those.

So? (straightening tie) are you telling us you want some flowers pal?

I'll see who we have that can put in a call to Don Destefano, excuse me of course I meant to type Mayor Destefano (yeah that's it!) if you like. He's a well connected kinda guy if you follow my drift.....

(whadda tink, he got all dose union people behind him for nothin'??)