Smart Growth for Vernon, CT
Questions about the contract

Letters to the Editor
Journal Inquirer
September 20, 2011

I voted for the Department of Public Works and the Vernon Parks and Recreation contract. I only questioned the 10-percent reduction in salaries for all new persons being hired in these departments.

The parks and recreation programs of this community are well-planned and used by our citizens throughout the year. Many of those programs are paid by fees attached to them and considered revenue producers.

The Department of Public Works is a department in which the health and safety of our community is vested. This department is responsible for our roads, trash collection, snowplowing, and fixing and maintaining trucks, town cars, and other heavy-duty equipment. The employees in some instances must be licensed to drive the equipment necessary to keep our community safe.

The reason for the 10-percent reduction did not seem fair. Why? The Republican administration and the Republican-controlled council hired unqualified or partly qualified friends or clients of the administration.

These persons were placed in key positions — some at the top of the scale. They were given raises of 3, 3.5, and up to 8 percent. No comment was made when a public-relations person was hired at approximately $25 an hour or a personal lobbyist for the administration. Were the Republicans “watching our backs” then?

Finally, were the negotiations really fair when, during that time, the administration threatened to dismiss 42 members of these two departments? This weighed heavily in the union’s approval of the contract.

Marie Herbst

The writer is a Democratic member of the Town Council who is running for re-election.