Frankin gives 1.5 percent raises

| 22 Feb 2012 | 08:09

    Benefits package is held to 2008 levels through 2010; police excepted, By Mark J. Yablonsky FRANKLIN — Facing the reality of today’s battered economy, the borough council last week voted to approve a modest salary increase of 1.5 percent to all borough employees who are not “sworn police personnel.” By contract, police bargain separately with the borough. Retroactive to Jan. 1, 2009 and ending Dec. 31, 2010, the increase also carries the stipulation that “all other terms and conditions will be frozen as of Dec. 31, 2008 levels.” That means all employee benefits remain locked in where they stood at the end of 2008, and will not increase until at least 2011. Employees affected include everyone but police officers and their superiors, borough officials said. In prior times, employee raises typically ranged between 3 and 4 percent. Difficult times “When we negotiated with the groups, they had asked for a higher increase,” explained borough administrator Richard R. Wolak. “But when we explained to them the dire straits we were in, they voluntarily agreed to accept the lesser proposal, as well as freezing all their benefits at the 2008 level to assist the borough in getting through these very difficult times,” he said. “I, as the administrator, feel that they as a whole should be complemented for their understanding and support of the municipality in these very difficult economic times,” Wolak added. “I feel they have exemplified their value as municipal employees, and I would like to add my personal compliments for a job well done.” While members of the recently-formed taxpayers association, including former mayor Doug Kistle, have continually stated their unease with borough finances, one resident said the agreement between the town and its employees seemed fair. “As a taxpayer, I’d love to see a zero, but as a human being and a citizen of this town, I can’t ask for these folks to accept a zero percent increase,” said Alexander Lane resident Mike Goolsby. In the meantime Franklin is scrutinizing its 2009 budget, expected to be formally introduced March 24. “Every line item” is under review as the borough looks for places to trim, says borough administrator Richard P. Wolak.