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Isaac Mass asks Town Council for amendment to stipend ordinance

Makes good on campaign promise

GREENFIELD — Newly elected At-large Town Councilor Isaac Mass is intent on making good on one of his campaign promises.

Mass said he will ask fellow councilors this month to amend an ordinance they passed in November, which gives school board members and town councilors a $2,000 stipend beginning in three years and allows both boards cost-of-living increases each year.

The new ordinance also allows the council, by a two-thirds vote, to appropriate up to $500 a year per councilor or school board member for training, continuing education, professional development, registration fees, mileage and travel expenses.

“Training and other expenses of the Town Council are properly governed by the budget for the Town Council and may vary from year to year depending on the needs of the current council,” said Mass, who would like to see that part of the ordinance removed.

There are 13 councilors and six school board members, so it will cost the town $38,000 a year for stipends beginning in fall 2016 and if each councilor and school board member were to take advantage of the extra $500 — admittedly an unlikely prospect — it would add another $9,500 for a total of $47,500 per year.

Mass said the $500 for professional development should be incorporated into the Town Council’s yearly budget.

Mass said he also believes allowing the council to give itself a cost-of-living increase is not appropriate. He said he believes linking council pay to cost of living increases has some merit, but feels the idea should go before voters before being adopted.

“Additionally, unlike the state legislature, which requires decreases in legislative pay when cost of living adjustment is lower, the new ordinance makes no such provision.”

Mass said he will ask that his request be forwarded to the Appointments and Ordinances Committee for consideration. Town Council will eventually vote on the issue.

Mass also pledged during his campaign that he would not vote for any pay raise or cost-of-living increase to councilors’ salaries during his term.

He said he isn’t opposed to compensating councilors and school board members. He said a modest salary is not unreasonable, but annual pay raises are too much.

“This isn’t anything more than housekeeping,” said Mass. “This was just a mistake made by inexperienced councilors who drafted the ordinance.”

Town Council will discuss the matter at its meeting on July 16 at 7 p.m. in the studio in Greenfield Community Television, 393 Main St.

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