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Resident says town’s listing of elected officials’ salaries is misleading

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 February 2017 at 1:57 pm

MURRAY – Town officials were asked why the official postings for elected officials’ salaries often don’t reflect their entire compensation, including stipends that are often several thousand dollars or more.

At least three elected officials at Murray receive additional pay from what is publicized as their salaries.

For example, Town Supervisor John Morriss is paid $8,500 as town supervisor. He also receives $1,500 as budget manager. The official town notice lists the pay for town supervisor as $8,500.

Ed Morgan serves as highway superintendent and the pay is listed as $63,305. However, he also will be paid $21,462 as water superintendent in 2017.

Town Clerk Cindy Oliver is paid $30,152 as town clerk, according to the town notice listing the salary. She also will receive $10,243 in 2017 as water collection clerk and $600 as registrar of vital statistics.

Kerri Neale, a town resident, asked the board on Tuesday why the official notices of the positions don’t list the entire pay for the three elected officials.

Jeff Martin, the town attorney, said the town is following the legal requirement in posting the salaries for the elected positions. The additional duties reflect pay for that additional work.

Town Councilman Paul Hendel said the town notes the stipends for the other work in January during the organizational meeting.

“Why not list everyone’s pay for clarity in one spot?” Neale asked the board. “For a simple person like me, I wouldn’t have to dig around.”

Murray isn’t unusual in listing the the salaries of the elected positions at lower numbers than the total compensation for the highway superintendent, town clerk and town supervisor. That’s how most of the towns list them, putting the salary for the elected position in a legal notice.

But Neale said it’s misleading to the public when the total compensation is often much higher.

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