Board gives nonunion town workers 2% pay hike

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RUMFORD — Selectmen at Thursday night’s board meeting OK’d a pay hike for nonunion employees by a 3-1 vote, but tabled a decision on a major revision of the personnel policy after a 60-minute workshop.

Selectman Greg Buccina, who was absent during the board’s discussion of the wage hike issue last month, motioned that the board give nonunion town employees a 2  percent raise for 2010-11.

It was quickly approved with little discussion other than Selectman Mark Belanger saying he’d rather give a monetary raise. Buccina, Chairman Brad Adley and Selectman Jeff Sterling, who recommended the 2 percent raise last month, approved the motion; Belanger was the lone dissenter. Selectman Frank DiConzo remained absent on medical leave.

Buccina then brought up the personnel policy when no one else responded to Adley’s query about who wanted to introduce it.

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Referring to the board’s hour-long workshop on the policy prior to their regular 7 p.m. meeting, Buccina said, “I hate to go into a meeting and not accomplish anything, but it’s not something we can figure out in an hour.”

Without stating specifics about what’s wrong with the policy other than it’s outdated and needs work, Buccina said selectmen have “stumbled around with it” for three or four years before losing interest in changing it.

That, he said, can no longer continue to happen.

“We need to focus on it and come to fruition,” Buccina said. “We owe it to our employees to get this done.”

Belanger then asked Town Manager Carlo Puiia, who deals daily with town employees, to draft a revised policy on which the board can then work.

In other business, selectmen:

• Granted Sunday River Farms of Rumford Point a waiver to transport perishable potato goods over posted roads for a half mile on Whippoorwill Road to meet business needs. Due to unseasonal warmth, roads were posted earlier than usual, which created the problem, Belanger and Puiia both said.

• Learned that their wind power advisory committee, which next meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 8, in the conference room at Rumford Falls Auditorium, is currently developing an ordinance with which to regulate wind farms.

• Learned from former Town Manager Len Greaney that Selectman DiConzo is recovering from recent open-heart surgery and would welcome well wishes.

Late Friday afternoon, Puiia’s executive secretary, Terri Palmer, said people may send cards and well wishes to DiConzo via the town office at 145 Congress St., Rumford, ME 04276.

“We’ll get them to him,” she said.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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