Full-time appointments irk Franklin councilman


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Editor's Note: This story has been updated from the print version to include the terms of DPW supervisor Brian Vandenbroek's contract.


FRANKLIN — Did Franklin open the floodgates for employee payouts?

That’s what Councilmen David Fanale believes happened when the borough previously offered a “handsome contract” to Department of Public Works supervisor Brian Vandenbroek.

The contract, approved Dec. 10, 2013, and set retroactively to Sept. 1, 2014, sset Vandenbroek's salary at $90,474 and after he finished his CPWM course he will get a $5,000 raise, bringing his annual salary to $95,474. His three-year contract will bring his 2015 salary to $97,083 and his 2016 salary will be set at $99,331.15.

His ire was drawn when he saw the proposed personnel changes on the agenda for the Jan. 28 Borough Council meeting, including a $5,000 dollar per year stipend for the borough chief financial officer, five additional hours per week or the borough zoning officer, and two part-time employees being appointed to full-time status.

“We should not be forsaking the residents’ trust by spending their tax money like this,” Fanale said.

Qualified purchasing agent
Due to her recent certification as qualified purchasing agent (QPA), borough CFO Monica Miebach was unanimously awarded a $5,000 per year salary raise by the council.

While Fanale was originally against the raise, he found the benefits of having a QPA on staff to outweigh the cost.

“If it’s going to save the borough money,” he said, “then I’m all for it.”

By having a QPA on staff, the bid threshold for borough projects will be raised from $17,500 to $36,500, which will save money on attorney and engineer fees over the course of the year.

Full-time appointments
Mayor Paul Crowley began the discussion on two full-time appointments of current part-time employees by saying he has “always been against having an employee work one hour less than another employee to avoid paying the same benefits.”

First on the agenda was confidential secretary and deputy registrar Darlene Tremont, who was eventually unanimously appointed full-time administrative assistant in addition to her other duties.

Next up was part-time police secretary and records clerk Wendy Burdge, who also got the nod to full time 4-1 vote, with Fanale casting the sole dissenting vote

“I just don’t understand where this workload is coming from,” Fanale said. “It seems like there is money burning a hole in our pocket.”

Councilman Nick Giordano stood up for the promotions.

“Both of these people are critical to the infrastructure of their departments,” he said.

Each promotion could see the employee work as little as one extra hour per week. In return, the borough has to offer them a full benefits package.

Zoning
Last on the agenda was the addition of five hours per week to the schedule of borough zoning official Joseph Drossel, bringing his total up to 25.

Councilman Joe Limon, who chairs the personnel committee, advised the council that the recommendation that came to the committee was to increase both Drossel’s salary and hours, but decided to recommend to the council to only increase his hours.

“This is a position that affects quality of life and appearance,” Giordano said, as the zoning official is responsible for making sure residents maintain their property. With Drossel spending so much time in court based on violations he writes, he has little time left in the week to investigate.

The motion passed 3-2, with Babcock joining Fanale in voting no.

“Now it does seem like we are opening the flood gates,” he said.

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