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Stipends OK’d for Town Council, school board

GREENFIELD — Town councilors and School Committee members will receive a $2,000-per-year stipend beginning in three years.

Town Council has voted the stipend with most councilors saying they believe it will “encourage and allow” a more diverse population to run for seats on the council.

With 13 councilors and six school board members not already on the payroll, that would come to $38,000 a year.

The stipend, which several councilors said they will probably never see, comes with several conditions, including an attendance requirement.

If a councilor were to miss several “regularly scheduled monthly meetings,” he or she would receive a reduced stipend at the end of the year.

The stipends will be paid at the end of each fiscal year, which runs from July 1 through June 30 of the following year.

While some councilors, including At-large councilors Patrick Devlin and Mark Maloni, said they felt uncomfortable voting a stipend for councilors, others reminded them that they may not be voting one for themselves, but for an entirely new council in three years.

“I’ve struggled with this,” said Precinct 2 Councilor Keith Zaltzberg. “But, people won’t serve if they are going to lose wages doing so.”

Zaltzberg said he found a compelling argument in that people who earn less may not be able to serve because they can’t afford to.

“This will open it up to all,” he said.

Precinct 3 Councilor Brickett Allis said he voted against a stipend for councilors when it was brought to the council about seven years ago, but feels it is time.

“There are much bigger issues facing the town and they are time consuming,” said Allis. “If we pay councilors, we can expect more from them.”

In the end, councilors said they are fine with volunteering for their community, but also said they feel $2,000 a year is not a lot to ask.

Precinct 1 Councilor Marian Kelner said she wants people to realize that most of the councilors who voted the stipend will never see it.

“It’s not for us,” she said.

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