Stamford financial house member says city salaries too high; mayor disagrees

  • Stamford Mayor David Martin speaks during a groundbreaking during a site of a new hire on Bedford St. in Stamford, Conn. on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017. Photo: Michael Cummo / Hearst Connecticut Media / Stamford Advocate

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STAMFORD — Sal Gabriele was a member of a Board of Representatives in Mar 2009 when he listened a story he can't forget.

A Stamford tellurian resources manager told a house that an opening for a city janitor drew 300 pursuit applicants, and half of them had bachelor’s or master’s degrees.

It was 6 months into a Great Recession.

“I pronounced to one of my colleagues, ‘Wow. Things contingency be bad,’ ” pronounced Gabriele, who now sits on a Board of Finance, a absolute six-member physique that controls a city’s purse strings.


Gabriele, a Republican, has given pushed for deeper cuts to budgets due by Democratic Mayor David Martin. Both won their seats in 2013.

Gabriele pronounced he is endangered about a skyrocketing salaries of city employees, and a ensuing grant costs. The series of employees earning 6 total jumped from 80 in 2010 to 821 5 years later.

“I looked during it and we saw an blast of salaries, generally for managers,” Gabriele said. “Between 2008 and 2016 — a retrogression years when a Stamford center category was traffic with layoffs, compensate cuts and advantage cuts — city managers got increases of $30,000 to $50,000. That means they were removing raises of during slightest $3,000 to $5,000 a year.”

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Source: N.Y. Business Journal | *Starting Jul 1 | **Proposed 2017-18 | ***Mayor declined lift to $258K final year


Martin, who manages a city of 130,000 people and a due bill of $559 million, is set to acquire $173,000 starting Jul 1.

His compensate is on standard with many incomparable cities that have likewise high costs of living, such as Boston, Seattle and Denver. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, for example, earns usually $2,000 some-more than Martin yet oversees a city roughly 6 times larger. Boston has 667,000 people and a bill of scarcely $3 billion.

In Connecticut, Martin earns about $30,000 some-more than a mayor of a largest city, Bridgeport, and $40,000 some-more than a arch of comparably sized New Haven, yet a cost of vital is reduce in those places.

“The mayor has his perspective of salaries,” Gabriele said. “Other people feel different.”

Last April, when a financial house met to opinion on Martin’s due budget, Gabriele put onward motions for extreme cuts. He was upheld by a usually other Republican on a board, Shelley Michelson, who said, “We unequivocally are not vital within a means.”

They were out-voted by a 4 house Democrats.

“In many cases we are profitable (managers) flattering many a marketplace rate,” pronounced one of a Democrats, Dudley Williams.

Another, Mary Lou Rinaldi, said, “Cuts though a plan is irresponsible; we have to continue to run a city.”

Gabriele pronounced he will residence salaries again Thursday, when a financial house will opinion on Martin’s 2017-18 budget.

“By vocalization out, we wish inaugurated officials will start to comprehend that this is unsustainable,” Gabriele said. “These income and grant increases can’t continue.”

The mayor’s 4 cupboard members and his arch of staff any earns $162,000, Gabriele said. The high salaries insist down by a ranks of city government, he pronounced — grants officer, $133,000; comparison executive assistant, $105,000; Board of Representatives legislative officer, $130,000.

“In a subsequent 5 to 8 years, many of these positions will compensate $200,000 a year,” Gabriele said. “We have to start meditative about capping them. Otherwise, we are going to have to start expelling them.”

He thinks a city has too many managers — about 105 — or 45 some-more than in 2000.

But Martin pronounced a city needs a managers.

“We have no dais strength,” a mayor said. “We’re not meditative about capability improvements. We’re not planning. We’re doing things a same way. We need to work smarter. We can’t keep doing what we’ve been doing.”

A good manager is value a salary, Martin said.

“I wish people who are going to work intelligent and hard. we wish to get things done,” Martin said. “That requires certain people, and if that means salaries of $130,000 or $140,000, that’s what we wish to do. It will finish adult saving a city money.”

Innovative work by city managers, for example, cut a series of cars in a city swift from 80 to 35, he said, and versed them with tracking systems to urge efficiency. Operational changes increasing a recycling rate, that earns a city some-more income and reduces a volume of garbage, saving on hauling costs, he said.

The managers in his cupboard are not in a kinship and don’t get pensions, that saves a city money, Martin said.

Gabriele “is focusing on a wrong end,” a mayor said.

”It’s not about a salaries. It’s about a benefits,” Martin said. “What’s murdering us is a bequest grant and post-retirement health advantage costs that were concluded to by each mayor going behind to forever. we am perplexing to get us out of those constructional costs, and we’ve finished swell with some of a kinship contracts, yet make no mistake, that’s what’s murdering us.”

More than 80 percent of a city bill goes to salaries and benefits. Martin pronounced he would not cruise capping salaries for non-union managers since that would usually “drive a positions into a unions,” formulating some-more advantage costs.

“For each dollar we spend on indeed removing work done, we spend another dollar on benefits,” he said.

But Gabriele pronounced many pensions start during a income an worker earns on a day of retirement — a top indicate — and Stamford is a really inexhaustible employer.

Martin’s bill offer for subsequent mercantile year is 6.3 percent some-more than this year. After a Board of Finance acts on it Thursday, a Board of Representatives will take it adult May 2.

angela.carella@scni.com; 203-964-2296; stamfordadvocate.com/angelacarella.

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