The Board of Finance Tuesday night discussed a salary increase for the first selectman's job, which members believe is not being adequately compensated.
Board members pointed out that the first selectman's salary of $80,000 doesn't compare to the $117,000 average wage for the same position in neighboring towns.
Any change made to the salary would not take effect until the start of the next term after the November municipal election.
Board Chairman Liz Mao recommended that an adjustment be made.
"From what we have seen with these big storms, the management of the town has been more complicated and it's a full-time job and then some. It includes evenings, weekends and a lot of activity, and I believe we should make a fair adjustment to the salary to keep it competitive with other towns," Mao said. "It's a managerial job and it certainly should be paid that."
The salary was lowered nearly 10 years ago, prior to former First Selectman Evonne Klein's first term, for a specific reason.
"We wouldn't want to have anybody doing the job who actually needed the job and wanted to it for the money," was the explained rationale for lowering the salary, according to Mao.
"I'm just quoting what was said to me," Mao said. "I didn't like the explanation at the time."
Vice Chairman Martha Banks pointed out that most of the comparable towns do not have an administrative officer, who reports to the first selectman. She requested that a deeper look be made into the comparable towns terms of the relationship of the administrative officer and the first selectman.
Board member Lorene Bora suggested that an increase in salary be gradual instead of one initial jump.
The board agreed to gather additional information before discussing the salary increase again during the budget-setting season.
Generators were also a topic of discussion at the board's meeting, leading to support for one at Town Hall. A majority of the costs would be for the installation and electrical work, according to several board members.
The town has allocated $83,000 for the generator with anticipation that the town would receive state grant funds to offset the rest of the cost.
The board also felt that $1.2 million for generators in the schools, as per the request of the Board of Education, was not feasible for the town.
Support for the Town Hall generator stems from the shelter conditions following superstorm Sandy, according to Mao. After the storm, the building was used as a staging, warming and charging area. However, while there was electricity, there was no heat in the building.
"This was the command center," Mao said, adding that Town Hall was the command center for all the crews in town. "In my opinion, this is the one generator that is needed."
The Board of Education has requested generators specifically at Ox Ridge and Hindley schools to protect them from further damage during a power outage. For example, the sewer ejector system at Ox Ridge is needed to ensure that sewage is pumped up to the main lines on Mansfield Avenue. The system shuts down without electricity, which it did last summer.
However, Board of Finance members still wondered why the Board of Education could not look to purchase portable generators that would come at a lower cost.
The Board of Finance will continue to look at the proposed budget to make cuts in an attempt to have a final budget increase of less than 4 percent, Mao said at a previous board meeting. If no cuts are made, the total proposed 2013-14 budget of $125,885,628 would represent a 6.62 percent increase over the current fiscal year.