Recently the Stratford Town Council, led by its Republican majority, began the process to .
Yes, at a time of record unemployment and when middle-class families are struggling to keep their homes, Stratford’s Town Council believes $90,000 a year plus health insurance and other generous benefits such as a free town car, car insurance and free fuel, is not enough, and the mayor’s salary should be raised to $115,000, making Stratford one of the highest paid mayors in the state of Connecticut.
As someone who actually with passion and zeal I can tell you no amount of money compensates you for what you have to go through. But that is the point -- yes, you have to be paid but you do not become a public servant for the pay.
Comparisons of a mayors pay to a private sector CEO is "apples to oranges." That is why we have a "private sector" and "public sector," so comparing the pay to CEOs in the private sector make no sense. In fact, if you were to make a mayor’s pay equal to a comparable CEO in the private sector (based on size of employees and budget) the mayors pay would have to be much, much more.
In reviewing whether it should adjust the salary for its mayor, Stratford should look to compare other similar communities. However, since each community is unique it is important to make an "apples-to-apples" comparison. For example, Fairfield has a similar population as Stratford but their budget is different and their financial position is in better shape than Stratford. Fairfield can afford to pay its first selectman a higher rate of pay. But like it or not, Stratford is not Fairfield.
So why the raise? And why now? Well, has been trying to raise the pay for the mayor since Stratford went to the mayoral form of government. Why? Because while win election in Stratford from time to time, the reality is that Stratford tends to elect Republicans into office.
This raise is politically self-serving and because as the political party in control of the mayor’s seat, the Town Council and the Board of Education, they can do what they want.
A better plan would be to start the mayor’s salary at $90,000 with an annual 1.5 percent cost of living increase. The plan to raise the mayor’s salary by 27 percent to $115,000 is a slap in the face to Stratford’s citizens and businesses.
In what could become "lame duck" legislation that's harmful for Stratford -- those members of the Town Council not seeking re-election should vote "no" and leave this issue to another Town Council.
Every member of the Town Council seeking re-election ought to clearly state their position regarding this issue. This outrageous plan to raise the mayor's salary can and should be a major campaign issue for this November's elections.