Letter: Trumbull Democrats did not support salary increase

To the Editor:

I'm writing in response to the letter to the editor from Republican Town Council Majority Leader Rick Costantini in last week's Trumbull Times regarding the 20.2% salary increase for the first selectman and other positions recently passed along party lines from the Town Council.

I will be happy to talk about this important issue right up until Election Day. Trumbull taxpayers deserve to know the facts regarding this salary increase.

Board of Finance Democrats did not support this salary increase. It's as simple as that.  We voted to fund the contingency account, which by definition, means 'if."  We have consistently opposed this large increase.

Why? Trumbull Democrats don't think that we need to effect salary increases for town officials by means of an ordinance. That only locks us into this decision for years to come. We believe that the way increases have been determined for the last 50 years has worked well for Trumbull.  But beyond this, Trumbull Democrats know that a 20.2% increase, even spread over five years, is more than double the rate of inflation. It's more than double the average increase in the Social Security checks of our seniors. It's more than double the average yearly raises of Trumbull taxpayers. We don't believe public servants should get better raises than the people who are paying them, in addition to better health insurance, better retirement benefits, and in some cases, a town car and a cell phone.

On this issue, the difference between local Republicans and Democrats could not be more clear. Every Republican Town Council member except one voted for the increase. All Democrats on the Town Council voted against it. Vicki Tesoro has stated that if she is elected, she will refuse to accept this salary increase and if Democrats are elected to control the Town Council, the ordinance will be repealed. On the other hand, Tim Herbst has made no such offer to turn away this increase.  You can make your voice be heard by voting on Nov. 3!  Thanks for reading.
 Tom Kelly 
Chair, Trumbull Democrats