Media Archive

Piscataquis commissioners OK salary increase

Article from Bangor Daily News, Wednesday, January 07, 2004

By Diana Bowley
of the NEWS Staff

DOVER-FOXCROFT Piscataquis County commissioners on Tuesday made a last-minute budget decision.After approving one-time adjustments in the salaries of three elected officials last week and boosting the base wage for nonunion employees from $6.82 to $7.38 per hour, the commissioners had planned to sign the 2004 county budget Tuesday. But after more than an hour of discussion regarding parity among salaries, the board agreed to give all elected and appointed officials a 5 percent pay increase. Commissioner Eben DeWitt did not support the move.

Once the budget figures are revised, the commissioners will hold a special meeting later this week to sign the budget.

Commissioner Tom Lizotte called the last-minute move a "stopgap measure" to make people feel they are getting equal pay. "We need to study our whole compensation system and get it equitable," he said.

With this latest action, the three elected officials given pay adjustments - Registrar of Probate Judy Raymond, Registrar of Deeds Linda Smith and Sheriff John Goggin - will receive either the adjustments or the 5 percent increase, whichever is greater for each. All other elected and appointed officials will receive a 5 percent increase in 2004.

The commissioners had initially included a 10 percent increase in pay for all elected and appointed employees in the 2004 budget, but reduced it to 3 percent upon recommendation by the County Budget Advisory committee, which suggested the 10 percent increase be divided over three years.

Reconsidering the matter Tuesday, the commissioners decided to increase from 3 percent to 5 percent, with the intent to seek the same increase in the 2005 budget.

The added cost of the raises will be offset in the budget by an increase in anticipated revenue from the boarding of federal prisoners, according to the commissioners.

In other business, the commissioners approved a fire contract with the town of Monson for coverage of Elliotsville and Blanchard. The county, through the unorganized territories budget, will pay Monson $7,000 each for coverage of the two unorganized territories. The new contract represents an increase of $1,000 for each community over last year.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.