COMMENTARY: How much should a Shelton mayor be paid?

Should the salary of the position of mayor be increased? That is the question before the Board of Aldermen.

We are not discussing giving the current mayor a raise. What we are discussing is should the salary of the position be increased by more than the cost of living, per a current ordinance.

This discussion has nothing to do with the performance of the current mayor.

In business, when management considers increasing the salary of a position, they do it for several reasons.

One reason may be they can not get qualified candidates at the salary being offered. A second reason may be that the position’s responsibilities have increased significantly.

I cannot think of any time in the past 30 years that I have lived in Shelton that there have not been at least two candidates for the position of mayor in a city election. You can argue that one or more may not have been qualified, but qualifications are not the issue.

Thus the first possible reason for raising the salary (i.e., that no one wants the job at the current salary) is not valid.

More responsibilities?

How about the second? Have the responsibilities for the position increased significantly? While the size of the budget has increased, the work force and the size of the city has not changed significantly.

To my knowledge, no new duties have been given to the mayor, per the City Charter. The Board of Aldermen often gives the mayor total negotiation responsibilities on contracts, but that isn’t new.

Based on these two criteria, the position does not warrant an increase in salary beyond the current cost-of-living adjustments.

How about comparing the Shelton mayor’s salary to other cities and towns?

I often hear that Shelton is different than the surrounding communities. Well if that’s the case, you can’t now choose to compare yourself to other towns.

School supt.’s salary comparison

In a recent Shelton Herald article, the current mayor wondered why the school superintendent makes more than he does.

Let’s take a look. Both have the responsibility for safety. For the residents of the city, the mayor has that responsibility. For school children, it is the superintendent’s responsibility.

The mayor has a full-time police department; the superintendent does not. Both oversee a large budget, but the Board of Education budget is even larger.

Anyone can be mayor. The individual only needs one more vote than his or her opponent. There is no degree required and no work experience required. You can even be a convicted felon and still run.

Not so with the school superintendent. That person has educational requirements, certification requirements and must pass a background check.

In the end there really is little in the way of comparison between the two jobs and what their salary should be.

Let’s be realistic, if people were paid on how they contributed to society, first responders would be millionaires and sports stars would be paupers.

David Gioiello is chairman of the Shelton Democratic Town Committee and a two-time candidate for mayor.