Members of the Derby Board of Aldermen want more time for research before voting on salaries for new employees working for Mayor Rich Dziekan’s administration.
The Aldermen’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting was Thursday (Jan. 11).
The discussion items included whether to:
- Pay Andrew Baklik, the mayor’s chief of staff, $78,000 annually.
- Pay Carmen DiCenso, an economic development liaison, $25 an hour for part-time work not expected to exceed 20 hours.
- Pay a $5,600 contract stipend to Lynn DiGiovanni, who was hired on a temporary basis as a “transitional economic development staff consultant.” The dollar amount is for completed work, as DiGiovanni now works for Luchs and DeCarlo & Doll, a consulting engineering company involved in many local projects.
Baklik’s proposed salary generated some grumbling before the meeting started, and First Ward Alderman Thomas Donofrio called for a Democratic caucus shortly after the meeting started.
The Democrats went into a closed-door conference room to talk amongst themselves for about 10 minutes.
That’s allowed under state open government laws.
When the meeting continued in public and the salaries came up for a vote, Aldermanic President Charles Sampson requested Baklik’s salary be tabled until next month’s meeting.
Sampson, a Republican, said he had just received documents connected to the agenda items at the start of the meeting and wanted more time to review them.
The board agreed.
First Ward Alderwoman Barbara DeGennaro then suggested all three salary items be tabled until next month, which was also supported by the Aldermen.
The mayor sent a memo to the Aldermen Jan. 11 explaining his reasoning behind his $78,000 salary request for Baklik. The memo is printed within the embedded Aldermen meeting agenda packet at the bottom of this story.
In 2005, according to Dziekan, two separate positions within the mayor’s office — chief of staff, and chief administrative officer — each carried annually salaries of $68,000.
Raises for those jobs were tied to the union contract for police officers, according to Dziekan. If cops got a 3 percent raise, so did the chief of staff and the chief administrative officer.
By that logic the salary for those positions should be “well over $80,000,” Dziekan’s wrote in the memo.
Baklik is his chief of staff. Dziekan has not hired a chief administrative assistant.
So Baklik is also doing duties traditionally reserved for the mayor’s chief administrative officer, Dziekan wrote.
The mayor said Baklik is putting in some 55 hours a week for the city.
In his memo, Dziekan compares the money being spent on his front office to that of his predecessor, Mayor Anita Dugatto.
Dziekan said that Dugatto’s chief of staff and Dugatto’s administrative assistant were paid a combined $144,000.
Baklik and DiCenso’s combined salaries are expected to be $104,000, Dziekan wrote in the memo.
A review of past meeting minutes of the Board of Aldermen going back to 2009 do not show a coherent policy in Derby regarding salaries in the mayor’s office.
The duties and salaries of chief of staff, administrative assistant, and grant writer have been combined or separated depending in who is in office.
Salaries in the mayor’s office are often up for debate.
Democratic members of the city’s tax board questioned the amount of money the Staffieri administration spent on mayor’s office employees — and Republicans on the tax board made Mayor Anita Dugatto’s chief a staff an issue.
The chief of staff under Dugatto was paid $60,000 for part-time work, a bone of contention among GOPers.
The salaries could come up for discussion at subcommittee meetings this month before returning to the full board’s regular meeting in February.