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January 9, 2013

Seabrook police, fire chiefs settle contracts

(Continued)

Bitomske said before meeting with Titone, he did a little research on what other chiefs were earning in similar-sized communities with similar infrastructures. He found in Lakes Region towns of Belmont, Guilford and Meredith, chiefs were earning from $91,000 to almost $100,000 in 2011, figures that could have risen in 2012. Closer to home, the police chiefs in nearby Hampton and Exeter earned $92,000 and $100,000 in 2011, respectively.

According to Titone, Manthorn never negotiated annual rises in his salary during his four-year tenure, leaving his salary pretty much the same until he retired last year.

Titone said when compared to what other police chiefs are earning, the busy pace of the Seabrook department and the burden the nuclear power plant places on all the town’s emergencies services, he believes the police chief’s salary, as well as the fire chief’s salary, are justified.

“Given what they both gave up with the cap and its effect on their pension, I think the salaries are fair,” Titone said. “The cap will save the town a lot of money for many years to come.”

Strangman said he was willing to agree to the cap because it’s good for the town, and he’s pleased with his salary. But, he added, he did speak with Titone recently when he discovered there’s a $10,000 disparity between his salary and Bitomske’s.

Both men are allowed a minimum salary increase of $1,560 annually on April 1 of 2013, 2014 and 2015.

In Strangman’s contract the town agreed to a $400 per month travel expense for the use of his personal vehicle. In Bitomske’s, the town agreed to provide him with a cruiser to take home, but in the event the cruiser isn’t available, he would also get $400 per month should he have to use his own car.

Both Strangman and Bitomske must live in Seabrook. Strangman already does and Bitomske, a Hampton resident, must move to Seabrook within 12 months of his appointment as chief, which was in November.

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