Call-pay for fire chief, assistant cut

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ROXBURY – Call-pay for the fire chief and his assistant for 2007 got tossed out the window at Tuesday night’s selectmen’s meeting. They can only have a stipend, plus pay for training to perform administrative duties, according to a 3-0 vote, and it’s got to be less than what selectmen make.

At first, board Chairman Mark Touchette limited discussion on the 2007 pay issue, then opened it up regarding a 2006 pay matter.

According to minutes of the Nov. 20 selectmen’s meeting, which Touchette read from Tuesday night’s meeting agenda, fire Chief Jim Theriault said he and Assistant Chief Ray Carver wanted to be – and expected to be – paid a stipend and hourly wage for calls and training. Selectmen Alan Hodgkins and Douten “Dan” Thomas only agreed on stipend pay, but, apparently, no official vote was taken then or at meetings since.

On Tuesday night, Thomas said he thought the matter had been resolved and that the two men already been paid, despite his earlier objection.

Before Theriault and Carver took over the fire department earlier last year, Roxbury had given both positions call and stipend pay.

Touchette said he was willing to continue that for 2006, but not 2007. The fire chief gets an annual stipend of $1,000; his assistant, $550. Selectmen each get a $1,100 annual stipend.

“I don’t think an administrative person should get paid more. I can’t see a fire chief getting paid more than selectmen,” Touchette said.

Carver argued that the fire chief had more responsibilities.

“So, we don’t have to answer calls, then?” Theriault asked, bringing an instant rebuke from Thomas.

“I don’t get paid for calls,” Theriault responded.

“Would you rather we pay you $100 in call pay?” Thomas asked.

“It wouldn’t make a difference,” the chief said.

“I feel our tax burden is enough on the town now. That’s why I got in, to try and curb some spending. We beat this horse long enough,” Thomas said.

“It’d be more fair if you just ask for more stipend pay rather than both,” Hodgkins said. “Unfortunately, this town’s always run on a shoestring budget. We’re trying to get there. We know the fire department needs more money than the budget it has.”

Still, Hodgkins voted against giving the two chiefs stipend and call pay for 2006, while Thomas and Touchette voted to do it.

They just didn’t know how they would, because last year’s books have been closed.

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