CHESHIRE — Town Councilors this week rejected a new pay schedule that would have allowed salary increases for non-union town workers.
The proposal to boost pay for those in the “maximum salary” category failed with a 4-4 vote.
Salary ranges for different non-union positions are fixed. Once a non-union employee reaches maximum pay, any wage increases are calculated and given as a lump sum at the end of the year.
Council Chairman Rob Oris, a Republican, opposed the plan and suggested a pay system that regularly compares wages to those earned in the private sector instead.
“There’s really no analysis that’s done to ensure they’re being properly paid for the job they do,” Oris said.
Town Manager Sean Kimball said his previous employer, the town of Simsbury, had a market-driven pay system.
Tom Ruocco, a Republican councilor, also voted against the pay plan.
“I thought the increases were a little bit too much,” he said.
Under the two-year proposal, the largest increase for an employee was 7 percent.
Councilor Peter Talbot, a Democrat, supported the increases. The lack of salary increase for the seven employees involved leaves them “with no opportunity to advance.”
“You’ve effectively taken a group of individuals and frozen their pay,” Talbot said. “They look around and see everybody else who works for the town continuing to get pay increases. It’s a bad message to send to our non union, long-tenured employees.”
Councilor Patti Flynn-Harris, a Democrat, was out of town for the vote leaving eight on the council. A motion must have a majority to pass.
Both Talbot and Ruocco expected the plan to return to the council.
“Had her plane landed 24 hours earlier, this would have passed last night,” Talbot said.