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Stratford's Next Elected Mayor to Make $20K More

Stratford Town Council approves pay raise for town's next top elected official from $90K to $110K.

Stratford's next elected mayor will make $20,000 more than what its current mayor is earning now.

The Stratford Town Council Monday approved the pay raise by a 7-2 vote. The raise bumps the $90K salary up to $110K and comes with no increase over the next eight years.

So if Mayor John A. Harkins runs and wins a 2013 re-election campaign, he will in essence receive a 22 percent raise for his second term.

"If you break it down over eight years, it comes down to what would be a cost of living adjustment for each year," said Councilman David Fuller (D-6), calling $110,000 "reasonable" compensation.

"I'm comfortable with that amount," said Councilman Jason Santi (D-4). The last Council wanted to raise the salary to $130,000, he said.

While all Town Council members agreed that a salary adjustment was needed, some thought a $20,000 increase was too much.

Stephanie Philips (D-2) and Christian Barnaby (R-1) are the two Council members who voted against the raise.

Comparison with Other Towns

"I actually think $100,000 would be a more appropriate number for the mayor," Philips said. There are two towns with similar median household salaries that pay its mayors around $100,000, she said.

But one of those towns allows its mayor to seek a salary outside of his or her municipal duties, Philips noted. Stratford's mayor is not permitted to take such action.

Though Philips did not name the two towns, a report of chief executive salaries by Stratford’s town attorney shows that Danbury, which has a median household salary of $65,419, pays its mayor $104,015 a year; and Norwalk, which has a median household salary of $75,695, pays its mayor $100,000.

The median household salary in Stratford is $66,127, according to the report.

However, both Danbury and Norwalk have larger municipal budgets than Stratford. According to the report, Danbury's budget is about $209M and Norwalk's $280M, while Stratford's is $188M.

Editor's note: The following comment was provided by the office of Mayor Harkins: "The mayor is deferring the council on salary issue as it was their own bi-partisan initiative."

Do you agree with the raise? Let us know by voting in our poll. Back your answer in the comments.

Tom November 16, 2011 at 08:40 PM
Number magic -- covered up by fluff.. The kids love, it tastes great and feels warm going down folks. We all just love this sort of stuff -- "it's great, it's the best, works well." It can trim the waist and also make school grades improve -- closing the "Gap." Say No to Make Your Day
Jeanie November 17, 2011 at 02:42 AM
Your not alone. I finally got PART-TIME work...Can't wait to leave Stratford!!! All neighbors are working hard just to move out as soon as possible, soon it will be a ghost town.
Jaclyn Rothenberg November 17, 2011 at 01:45 PM
Sounds as if town residents disagree with an increase of 22% and are open to 2-4%. If infact the increase does go thru in the year 2013 -- future candidates running for Mayor can express if they will take the 22% increase or a lesser %. The Stratford residents will listen to candidate ideas and also the candidates stand on the salary issue. Residents still have the voting power when it comes to who will be Mayor and who will not be Mayor. If our Mayor Harkins is against this increase then he can simply state his reasons if and when he is running for a second term.
Tom November 17, 2011 at 02:52 PM
I would say certanly that His Honor has Made His Day on this one. Nice job. This program seems to be having an affect on all areas of the Town. I think it's great -- it makes me feel warm inside when nice stories take place. Remember: all you have to do is flip a nine and it becomes a six -- makes it even nicer - more nice (something like that). Tom Waits put it best when he wrote the song: What's He Building in There.
Tom November 17, 2011 at 02:55 PM
That's a bit too harsh. The man's employment status at the time as well as him being a renter has nothing to do with his integrity and willingness to do what is right for his Distirct.
George E. Mulligan November 17, 2011 at 03:13 PM
Jaclyn - great idea! Maybe the Patch and other Newspapers would do online polls about the Mayor Pay Raise? Town Councils can rescind motions, resolutions, and ordinances the month after they are voted. (I am unsure how that rule is affected by a lame duck Town Council?) I do believe, before the new council is sworn in next month, the existing Council could have one Order of Business and Reduce the Raise to 2 % a year. Councilor Jim Connor admitted the Mayor's benefit package is closer to 65 % than 40 %, due to the Free Car & $ 10,000 expenses, plus other things. Who would start and collect signatures for a petition to reduce the new Mayor's Pay?
Jaclyn Rothenberg November 17, 2011 at 03:49 PM
I'm interested in what the current Mayor (if he decides to run) and future candidates have to say regarding the salary they will accept if elected Mayor -- each candidate sharing at the future community election debates. The Stratford residents on this topic seem to be against the 22% increase (see patch poll). Is a petition needed maybe - maybe not. If infact true it will go into effect in 2013 and the voters will know exactly what each candidate will accept for his or her salary and vote as they see fit. It might very exciting for the Stratford residents to get a candidate who takes a salary that makes a statement to the Stratford people....a statement such as: I'm here to help Stratford residents and to move Stratford forward and not so much interested in the money (taking less pay and asking for an increase if elected a 2nd time - could be an idea or something along these lines)......NYC Mayor Bloomberg a prime example, $1.00 pay. If a candidate comes forward in this way and has ideas the residents want - he or she might be welcome with open arms.
earl November 17, 2011 at 05:20 PM
I'm interested in knowing what the job currently pays now. They say it's $90,000 but if that is the case how was Jim Miron able to leave with an extra $40,000 when he left after he was voted out of office? (http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Miron-and-top-administrators-depart-with-240-000-291793.php#ixzz1druMNDj4 ) Over 4 years that would make the salary $100,000 a year or was it $130,000 in the last year.? If the salary is set at $90,000 where did that extra money come from? Does this mean if the current mayor decides not to run , he can walk away with $40,000 in his final week like the previous mayor did?
Ron Moreau November 17, 2011 at 06:34 PM
Ms. Rothenberg, Are you suggesting Stratford 'goes out to bid' for the next Mayor and hope the Voters accept the lowest bid?
Jaclyn Rothenberg November 17, 2011 at 10:04 PM
Ron - your question --- have Stratford "go out to bid for the next Mayor"....I have not heard of this process in elections. I mentioned in past post ---- have future candidates share thoughts with the Stratford residents regarding the 22% increase at future candidate town debates. The residents of Stratford might or might not have an interest in a candidate who expresses taking less pay. Taking less pay might or might not make a statement with Stratford residents either. Though with this information from each candidate the Stratford residents can vote as they see fit. Most people might think a politician serves the community and listens to the wants and needs of the residents. The poll patch states many residents are against the 22% pay. It will be very interesting to see who comes forward as a candidate and if they are for the increase of 22% or not and if they will decline the increase, if elected Mayor.
Jaclyn Rothenberg November 17, 2011 at 10:20 PM
If the majority of Stratford residents agree with the 22% increase in these times, the increase is perfect! If majority of residents disagree in the increase in these times --- the residents will expect a candidate to abid by what the residents express. Really this simple. The voters will make the final decisions with this information and of course the ideas to move the town forward.
Tom November 18, 2011 at 12:27 AM
I can't afford private schooling for the kids and with this new program being forced into the schools, it may be time for us as well.
Jim Miron November 18, 2011 at 02:19 AM
How a sitting mayor "defers" the issue is beyond comprehension.
Ron Moreau November 18, 2011 at 03:07 AM
Ms.Rothenberg, It would be much more benificial to Stratford Homeowners if they had a say, through Referendum, how much of our tax money gets spent by Our Board of Education and no 'going out to bid' for a Mayor is not an accepted practice. In my opinion $90,000 plus all those perks is enough for the position. Ms.Rothenberg. Never stop questioning the 'status quo'.
Jaclyn Rothenberg November 18, 2011 at 11:23 AM
The Stratford residents do have the ultimate say -- they will elect the next Stratford Mayor --- by asking questions, listening very carefully to candidates at debates and ultimating having their say by casting votes on election day (my feeling is the Stratford residents will ask about the increase in pay at the upcoming debates). Maybe some candidates might express taking less, maybe others won't - we will find out. Our Mayor Harkins of course has the option too. The will of people is important to the candiates. A Stratford resident who adores the town of Stratford, Mrs. Jaclyn Rothenberg
Jaclyn Rothenberg November 18, 2011 at 04:45 PM
Ron, do you know if the Mayor agrees with the increase, 22%? What a statement he will make to the residents if he disagrees. For so many in Stratford the recession has hit them hard....they voted the mayor in to office to do good by the residents. I was taught politicians run for office to make a difference and not for the money. I hope Mayor Harkins sits back and thinks about the residents of Stratford, the recession and what this increase says to the residents. Some are saying the increase is necessary because there has not been much increase over the years - this is not the point - the point is many people are struggling and they voted for a leader of the town. The leader should be the first to decline this increase during these time, be the EXAMPLE for the town. OK Stratford residents!...who knows the issue inside and out, who cares for the town residents, who will take less pay, who is level headed, who has been involved in town issues, who wants the job to move Stratford forward, who will decline the increase? Come forward and run. When you declare you will take less pay - you are making a huge statement and many will take a very good look at you and your ideas.
Jim Miron November 18, 2011 at 07:26 PM
Jaclyn, Mr. Harkins choose not to use his veto or otherwise comment. That speaks to his obvious support of the raise which obviously benefits him.
George E. Mulligan November 18, 2011 at 07:55 PM
If elected Mayor, I would cut my pay by 22% of the existing Pay Rate. That 22% + 22% would be pledged to Seniors, Vets, & Fixed Income. - Futher, I would cut my expenses Budget by 50% I would place a cap of $ 6000 towards Health Care & reduce Town's matching retirement by 50%. - Being obese - I can't fit into the green cars. I am unsure of Mayor's transportation budget cost. It would be transparent. - My schedule would include both flex time for days / nights to visit each of 10 districts rotating monthly over 1 year. - I would be available as often as Jim Miron was available, which is far more often than Mayor Harkins. I would credit ideas received from constituents. - Every Town Council Public Forum speaker would be acknowledged with a spot on the website noting issue raised - who is handling it (department) scheduled solution date - date completed! - I would handle some web responses. Many would be delegated. - Budget vaguarities would be clarified and summaries consolidated: 1 - Total Town Attorney Fees, per FIRM / Lawyer past 30 years 2 - Total Monetary Settlement with Court Case # = Both should be Public? 3 - Attorney costs over lifetime of last 30 years main Attorney costs like: * Airport * Avalone * AVCO * Labor * Pension * Raymark * Shakespeare * Tax Appeals 4 - Total Fire Dept Budget / PAY for 30 years 5 - Total Police Dept Budget / PAY for 30 years 6 - Total Define Benefit Cost Todate + Unfunded 7 - Unfunded Mandates REVENUE IDEAS
Jezebel282 November 18, 2011 at 08:25 PM
STRATFORD — Former Democratic Mayor James R. Miron and five of his top administrators and staff assistants departed with a total of $240,000 in sick and vacation cash-out benefits — including two aides employed for only six months who received $20,000 each, the new mayor, John Harkins, and his administration discovered during its first two days in Town Hall. Bauer said it appears Miron, McCauley and Winterbottom received about $40,000 each, and Norko cashed out at nearly $50,000. http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Miron-and-top-administrators-depart-with-240-000-291793.php#ixzz1druMNDj4
George E. Mulligan November 18, 2011 at 08:47 PM
I believe Jeze is correct: Miron staff high "cash out." $134,500 Police Pensioner/$84,800 base pay, "cashed out $ 37,000" lowering LIFETIME Pension contribution in for 27 years to $ 95,000. - $ 95,000 TOTAL into the Defined Benefit Pension $ 3,050,000 from annual Pension if he lives/is paid 30 years. - I would get in trouble with Patch if I wrote the words I believe this PENSION PROGRAM is and the relationships of the OVERSIGHT? - Miniture version of Wall Street or Congressional " ....... ...... ?"
earl November 18, 2011 at 09:27 PM
Excellent point Jezebel. If the salary is $90,000 a year and Miron was paid $90,000 a year plus all the perks. How did get $40,000 extra cash on his last day? The mayor is a 24/7 job with no overtime, sicktime or vacation days. It is not a 9 to 5 job. If a person takes the job they need to have a passion for it and understand going in what the salary is, in this case it was $90,000. For someone to take that extra cash, it's shows them to only care about themself and not the public. There are unemployed folks renting homes who need that money to help them. Imgaine the good the $40,000 could have done. Since he did get the cashout wouldn't you have thought he could have repaid the Stratford print shop he still owes with part of that windfall
Jezebel282 November 18, 2011 at 09:42 PM
Earl, Be careful, Miron may threaten to sue you for reminding everyone what he did. I dunno, but after that, to me it's just a tad hypocritical to decry a mayoral raise after doing that. Especially in mass media like these posts and letters to the editor.
Jaclyn Rothenberg November 23, 2011 at 08:28 PM
Stratford residents - you might want to take a look at the CT post article (Wed. Nov. 23rd, page A2) --- regarding the Stratford mayor's salary. The journalist, Marian Gaill Brown writes very important points and the Stratford residents who agree with her comments -- you might want to this topic to be brought up and discussed at the next Mayor debate. I am curious to hear the mayor's comments and the other candidates too. As Mayor Miron stated in an earlier post - Mayor Harkins did not use his veto or comment on this topic (salary increase). He has the option to share his thoughts at future debates - It will be interesting to hear his detailed comments and other candidates too. I'm in favor of those voted in office to be a leader --- and to be a leader is to " set examples" too. Marian Gail Brown is even suggesting the next Stratford mayor to take a pay cut -- we will have great insight into the character of the candidates -- these candidates who are running for "public office, to serve the people" and not about the money. Stratford residents who know the issues inside and out, who care for the future of Stratford --- come forward taking less pay -- I know I will be listening very carefully. Maybe others will too?
Jason Bagley (Editor) November 23, 2011 at 08:34 PM
Here's the link to the CT Post Columnist's article: http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/MariAn-Gail-Brown-Mayoral-pay-hike-an-outrage-2282965.php
Jim Miron November 23, 2011 at 08:51 PM
I read Ms. Brown's column but because the Patch linked it I did. I guess even a broken clock is right twice a day and in this case Ms. Brown got it right.
earl November 23, 2011 at 09:22 PM
One of the best insights into people's character was the article posted by Jezebel : http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Miron-and-top-administrators-depart-with-240-000-291793.php#ixzz1druMNDj4 Those people in public office walked away with $240,000 on their last day. So much for being in "public office to office to serve the people". What kind of example was set when those folks just walked out on the town with no notice. I wonder if some collected unemployment too because they were fired by Miron on their last day. Pretty slick. $20,000 is nothing I want to hear what the candidates have to say about millions in town attorney "fees" and bloated pensions.
Rusty Nail2 November 23, 2011 at 09:26 PM
You can use the column that Gail Brown wrote in the CT Post as toilet paper. The CT Post and Brown have become so liberal that the paper is impossible to read. I bet she wrote it while staring at her framed heart shaped picture of Obama next to her computer! Ms. Brown articles are all bleeding heart stories and frankly poorly written. She tried to compare the Mayor of Stratford's salary to Bloomberg the Mayor of NYC. How ridiculous. Bloomberg works for $1 a year because he is a multi billionaire and can. I don't see any billionaires running for the Mayor of Stratford. The salary change for the Mayor was justified. Get over it. Hopefully we can get better Mayor's now than the last two.
Jaclyn Rothenberg November 23, 2011 at 11:48 PM
Marian Gail Brown's "mayor" Nov. 23rd article -- liberal? She suggests a cut for the future mayor, that sounds conservative.
George E. Mulligan November 24, 2011 at 12:59 AM
Please note my post of November 18, where I was 5 days ahead of Ms. Brown, by offering to work for 22 % less salary than existing and cuts in other parts of the benefit package. Email reply from Ron Ing, Stratford HR Director: "Mr. Mulligan, The base salary of the May or is $90,000.00/year. Based on the annual salary and his benefit package the daily rate is $ 346.15/day. Since the defined benefit pension plan is not available to employees hired after September 1999 the Mayor is not eligible for the that plan. Any employee in the defined benefits plan pays all appropriate taxes. There is no tax free pension that I am aware of for any current past or future Town of Stratford employees."
Tom November 24, 2011 at 01:35 AM
Imagine if someone qualified offered to work the job for a buck.? I bet it would be tough to beat someone like that.

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