NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 15, 2013

Salary survey finds many were underpaid

Some Merrimac employees may soon enjoy a whopping 38 percent salary increase, according to Finance Committee member Richard Lesavoy’s review of a $10,000 salary survey currently under way. Part of the survey involves an internal equity assessment by town officials to determine whether such increases actually make sense for the town.

“Once we agree,” said Finance Director Carol McLeod at Monday’s selectmen’s meeting, “the consultant will prepare job descriptions for town employees, which we’ve never had before.”

Concern was expressed over the potential problem of finding replacements for experienced town employees fleeing to the private sector if their compensation is not made comparable to those in other towns. “It can take a year for a new person to get up to speed on the job,” said Selectman Laura Mailman, “and that’s a lot of time and money lost.”

Chairman Earl Baumgardner agreed, noting that “we’ve spent a lot of time and money on this [survey] and have underpaid some people for years, so we should move forward on it now.”

After discussing the salary survey report in open session, selectmen declined to release a copy of the report to the press, citing the preliminary nature of the report.

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Since no residents voiced any objections to the proposed new water and sewer rates, Merrimac’s Board of Selectmen passed them instantly, unanimously and without comment.

Starting July 1, the base rate for water will rise to $15 from $11 per quarter, and the per-gallon charge will rise to 80 cents from 68 cents per 100 gallons.

The sewer charge base rate, however, will be reduced to $68 from the current $78 for the first 7,500 gallons per quarter. Sewer-only customers will see a rate increase of $7.50 per quarter, while the rate for seasonal users increases to $68, instead of $25 per quarter.

Other related services will also see marginal increases, including meter installation, unscheduled readings and final readings.

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