Borough board approves new, revised ordinances

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NaugyTownHall2NAUGATUCK — The Board of Mayor and Burgesses approved two ordinances Tuesday that clearly define the benefits full-time elected officials, and some non-union employees, receive.

The approval came about two hours after a hearing on the ordinances, which no one attended.

Burgess Patrick Scully, chairman of the subcommittee that crafted the ordinances, said he was disappointed in the turnout and he did not want burgesses to be criticized after the fact, when members of the public had their chance to weigh in.

“I wish people had come,” Scully said.

One ordinance, No. 83, had been on the books since 1988 and outlined pension benefits for full-time non-union employees, including the elected town clerk and tax collector, but excluding the mayor. Under that ordinance, those employees received defined benefit pensions. For example, employees who retire at age 60 after 15 years of service would be entitled to 1.75 percent of their final average earnings, multiplied by the number of years they served.

The revised ordinance does not apply to the town clerk, tax collector or any non-union employee working under a separate union agreement, such as the assessor or controller. It places new employees in defined contribution pension plans similar to 401(k)s.

All of the borough’s seven unions now have defined contribution pensions for new employees.

“This sets that same standard and it’s to match what you’re doing with the unions,” said Burgess Ronald San Angelo, who also served on the subcommittee.

The mayor, town clerk and tax collector are now governed by a new ordinance, No. 124, which gives them the option to enroll in the same defined contribution pension. The borough board did not decide Tuesday what matching contribution it would make for those officials.

The new ordinance specifies full-time elected officials receive 20 days of paid time off that are not cumulative, and they are not eligible for compensatory time.

Mayor Robert Mezzo abstained from commenting or voting on the new ordinance.

Mezzo said he had not known what benefits the mayoral position carried and he hadn’t taken a full sick day since he was elected.

Burgesses began looking at benefits for elected officials two years ago, after former Town Clerk Sophie Morton was given a $26,000 payout upon retirement for unused sick and vacation time. Burgesses argued elected officials should not qualify for such a payout, although Morton was entitled to it under ordinance 83 and the non-union policy manual.