PARIS — Despite protests from residents about the process, the Board of Selectmen granted a $6,000 pay raise and additional vacation time to the contract of Town Manager Amy Bernard at Monday night’s board meeting.

On a 4-1 vote, with Selectman Gerald D. Kilgore Jr. opposing the move, the board approved the town manager’s contract with an addendum that provides a $6,000 raise and four weeks of vacation to keep her on par with the previous town manager’s salary, as well as the vacation schedule at her previous job in Wayne.

The agreement, made between the board and Bernard during an executive session on June 24, raises her salary from $53,000 to $59,000.

The contract had called for a $2,000 raise on July 1, if the performance evaluation was favorable. The town’s vacation policy only allows new employees two weeks during their first year. Instead, the board agreed to give her an additional $4,000 to bring her in line with the previous manager’s salary and another two weeks of vacation that Bernard said the board had discussed when she came on board last December.

The Rumford native was chosen out of more than 50 applicants for the job last November. She signed a two-year contract with a starting salary of $53,000. At the time, selectmen said her salary would be increased to $55,000 on July 1, after a satisfactory review.

“We flatlined her salary,” Selectman Sam Elliot said following comments from the public that the additional money and vacation time were added after the June town meeting had set its budget for the next fiscal year. Residents also said the board had known about what they wanted to do as early as last February without telling the public.

Anne Stanley of Lincoln Street said the action came after town meeting members were told they had to tighten the town’s financial belt.

“I’m really outraged,” she said of the process.

Selectmen Chairman Robert Kirchherr said the town manager is employed by the Board of Selectmen, and they made the decision what an “appropriate” compensation for the town manager’s job would be.

“The board has made a decision,” he said. “If you don’t like the decision, you can take it out on us.” 

A budget committee member said she was “disappointed” with the board, because she had asked outright during the process whether the $2,000 would cover any potential raise and was told it would.

Bernard said she was clear with the board during the hiring process that she was being asked to take a “severe reduction” in her vacation time.

Kirchherr said that despite the concerns, he was pleased with the “political process.”

“This is working just the way it’s supposed to be,” he told residents. “There’s nothing wrong with this political process. It’s working. Keep up the good work.” 

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