Members of a municipal government subcommittee advocating for a $20,000 salary for the salary of the town treasurer said this week that the substantial pay increase could, in fact, save New Canaan money.
According to Town Council member Kathleen Corbet, who serves on the legislative body’s Subcommittee for General Government and Finance, “with responsible, fair compensation for the town treasurer,” New canaan could “rely on them to do some of the functions that are being paid for on an internal audit function, which is an outsource function.”
“This committee is really all about savings for the town,” Corbet told members of the Board of Selectmen during their July 11 regular meeting, held at Town Hall. “We had the benefit of working with the Board of Education to find cost savings in health insurance, and we did that. We saved over $200,000. We’re not doing this for political attribution, but for saving money for the town.”
This recommendation comes after an extensive study of the salaries of town treasurers in 22 neighboring towns and cities, with respect to their respective budgets and duties, according to Corbet.
The subcommittee helps determine the salary of elected government officials. The recommendation comes after the finalization of the current fiscal year’s budget, so technically it’s being sought now as a special appropriation.
“Back in January, this collective committee began looking, as we do every two years, at the salary recommendations for all elected officials,” Corbet said. Along with the town treasurer, the committee also recommends salaries for members of the Board of Selectmen, the town clerk, and the registrar of voters, all of which were approved. The Board of Finance, however, turned down the treasurer recommendation.
The $20,000 figure would constitute a sizable raise from the current stipend of $1,392. It came as a result of the subcommittee’s extensive study. Members of the subcommittee spoke to treasurers across Fairfield County to establish the duties expected of each official with respect to their salary, according to Corbet. Corbet used Joan Henrickson of Darien and Molly McGeehin of Ridgefield as examples. Henrickson works approximately 10 to 15 hours a week, and receives a salary and benefits package worth a total of $40,265, Corbet said. McGeehin works 20 to 25 hours per week with a part-time salary of $30,391. Further, in a survey of 100 towns, it was found that 66 had part-time treasurers, and only five were paid less than New Canaan’s.
For the special appropriation to take hold, it must be approved before the election, officials said. The selectmen voiced support for the move, though they leaned toward a gradual raise to the proposed amount.
Selectman Beth Jones said, “It’s very convincing, but I would be in favor of moving it up to, say, $7500 first.”