NAUGATUCK — The Board of Mayor and Burgesses will hold a hearing Tuesday on a new ordinance creating benefit standards for full-time elected officials, and revisions to an ordinance that outlines a pension plan for some non-union employees.
The changes are being proposed by a subcommittee of burgesses that Mayor Robert Mezzo created two years ago, after then-Town Clerk Sophie Morton retired with a $26,000 payout for unused sick and vacation time.
Burgesses argued that elected officials, such as the town clerk, should not qualify for sick or vacation time because they are not contracted to work set hours.
The new ordinance, No. 124, would apply to the mayor, town clerk and tax collector. It stipulates their salaries would be set by the non-union salary review board, the finance board and the borough board. They would get 20 days of paid time off per year that will not be accrued or cumulative from year to year, and they would not be eligible for compensatory time.
Full-time elected officials would be eligible to participate in the borough group medical plan and, at the end of an elected term, could qualify for temporary continuing coverage. They are also eligible to participate in the defined contribution pension program, and the borough board has yet to decide what percentage of matching contribution it could make, said Burgess Patrick Scully, chairman of the subcommittee proposing the changes.
“It was clarifying the policy that everybody believed was there,” Scully said of the new ordinance.
Ordinance No. 83, created in 1988, governed pensions for non-union employees except the mayor. It has been changed to exclude the town clerk and tax collector, and to say employees hired after June 13, 2011, will now be placed into defined contribution pension plans similar to 401(k)s. The ordinance was clarified to exclude borough employees with individual contracts, such as the controller and the assessor.
The ordinance only applies to a handful of people working for the school system or borough social service agencies, Scully said.
Those governed by the ordinance who began contributing to the pension fund before Sept. 1, 1988, are entitled to accumulated sick leave payments. That provision entitled Morton to her payout for sick time.
The borough board is not required to hold a hearing on the proposed changes, but Scully said he thought it was right to do so. The hearing will be held Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. in the Hall of Burgesses in Town Hall, 229 Church St. The board might adopt changes at its regular meeting the same night, which begins at 7 p.m.
“Nobody could question that we did something behind closed doors,” Scully said. “If they agree with it, they should come out and support it. If they don’t, they should come out and not support it.”