Greenfield City Council to vote on police raises, recycling program



The Greenfield Police Department on High Street in Greenfield.

The Greenfield Police Department on High Street in Greenfield. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE


Staff Writer

Published: 02-19-2024 12:09 PM

Modified: 02-19-2024 8:22 PM

GREENFIELD — Despite the police chief’s sudden retirement last week, an education incentive for the deputy chief will come before the City Council Wednesday evening, along with the appointment of a new Precinct 7 councilor and the execution of the city’s $2 million Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling Grant Program.

The meeting will be held in a hybrid format at the John Zon Community Center, 35 Pleasant St., at 6:30 p.m. The full agenda and Zoom link can be found on the city’s website at

As part of two memorandums of understanding (MOUs), signed last year by then-Mayor Roxann Wedegartner during one of her final months in office, Deputy Police Chief William Gordon would see a $35,255 increase to his base salary. Former Chief Robert Haigh Jr. had also negotiated a similar raise, but he retired on Feb. 16.

Both officers also negotiated a $750 physical fitness incentive, requiring each of them to pass an annual physical fitness test. The raises were to go into effect Jan. 1, according to the memorandums, but funding the agreements requires City Council approval.

Wedegartner previously said that in negotiating these increases, Haigh agreed to a 0% increase to his base salary for the subsequent three years — that includes waiving the typical 3% annual increase for department heads — and Gordon agreed to do the same for one year of his next contract.

Those increases, in addition to the standard 3% longevity increase and other stipends, would bring Gordon’s total pay for the year up to $181,196.

A majority vote will be needed to transfer the $35,255 from the city’s reserve fund, which currently has a balance of $75,000. Despite his retirement, Haigh’s salary increase will still come before the council Wednesday because the council wants to ensure they see the process through, according to City Council President John Bottomley.

Precinct 7 councilor vacancy

City Council also is expected to consider the appointment of a Precinct 7 councilor to replace former Councilor Jasper Lapienski, who resigned from the council after two years of service on Jan. 1. Lapienski’s term expires on Dec. 31, 2025.

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A two-thirds vote will be required to fill the vacancy, which has generated three letters of interest.

Those expressing interest in the vacancy are Jesus Leyva, who ran for an at-large council seat in November and earned 1,322 votes; former Human Rights Commission member and U.S. Navy veteran William “Wid” Perry, who currently works for the Department of Mental Health; and Drew David, who moved to Greenfield two years ago and currently works with the Committee for Public Counsel Services, along with volunteer tutor work at the International Language Institute.

Solid Waste Infrastructure for Recycling Grant Program (SWIFR)

The council also is expected to take up $2.05 million in expenditures to kick off the Environmental Protection Agency’s SWIFR grant, which would move the city to automated, single-stream recycling from its current manual, dual-stream recycling. Greenfield has manually collected dual-stream recycling since 1992.

The grant money will fund the acquisition of a new fleet of automated collection vehicles, new collection bins for residents (provided free of charge), and a staff person to assist with the education and implementation of the recycling program, according to grant writer Athena Bradley. The new collection carts will be able to store up to five times more recyclable material, eliminating the need for multiple units.

Other matters

Additional matters coming before City Council this week are a slew of board and committee appointments and several zoning proposals.

Appointment considerations include: elevating Conservation Commission member Emily Boss from an alternate to a full member; appointing Jeff Sauser and Peter McIver to the Planning Board, while taking Amy McMahan from a full member to an alternate; and reviving the Agriculture Commission by appointing Elizabeth Nett, Denise Leonard and David Johnson; among others.

Several minor zoning amendments will come before the council, as well as a citizens’ petition to amend the major development review section of the city’s ordinances. The proposed change would reduce the vehicle trip threshold in the ordinance from 3,000 to 2,000, which is the same threshold the state uses.

Chris Larabee can be reached at