SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

October 21, 2013

Danvers top managers earn 2 percent pay raises

BY ETHAN FORMAN
STAFF WRITER

---- — DANVERS — The town’s 18 top managers have earned merit raises ranging from 2 to 2.5 percent, Town Manager Wayne Marquis told selectmen as he outlined this year’s management compensation plan.

The merit raises are based on performance in the prior fiscal year, and money for the raises was approved in the fiscal 2014 budget at May Town Meeting, Marquis said. Marquis’ own evaluation and compensation are handled separately from this plan.

Three of the 18 managers were deemed an “outstanding performer,” and each will be eligible for a 2.5 percent increase, Marquis told selectmen on Oct. 15. Those managers with a “commendable” rating will get a 2.25 percent raise, and those with a “fully satisfactory” rating, a 2 percent hike. Marquis said the “fully satisfactory” level has the manager meeting all the requirements of the job. Managers received merit salary increases of 1.5 percent to 2 percent last year.

“In Danvers, the bar is set quite high, and that means the person is doing their job and doing it well,” Marquis said of the “fully satisfactory” rating.

The management compensation plan covers department heads, such as the Department of Public Works director, assistant town manager, fire and police chiefs, and division managers who report to them, like the DPW director of operations, the deputy fire chief and a police captain, among others.

The plan also comes with modest step increases for managers who have not reached the maximum of their salary range, and only one manager is eligible for this step increase.

This means that many of those working in town jobs have been doing so for 20 or even 30 years.

No one received an increase due to an adjustment in the salary ranges. However, the salary range chart was increased by 2 percent “to account for inflation and market conditions over the past year,” Marquis wrote in a report to the board.

Marquis found that the fire chief’s salary came in below the market rate for comparable positions in the region, so the post was eligible for an equity adjustment of 1.9 percent. This raise will be spread out in two $1,000 increases, with one pay bump occurring on Jan. 1 and another on July 1, 2014, Marquis said. Fire Chief Kevin Farrell earned $118,600 in 2012, with $3,600 of that coming in the form of overtime compensation for responding as part of state hazardous materials team, Marquis said.

Marquis also gave the board what he called a “substantial list of achievements” by the management staff, including implementing a new health care program that netted the town $200,000 in savings, and the construction management of a $21 million upgrade to the town’s water treatment plant and the renovation of Danvers High in time for it to open for the start of school last month.

Selectman David Mills said that while he knows many people in town who are living on “very, very fixed incomes” and who are concerned about town spending and taxes, Mills praised Marquis for the “scholarly attention” he gives the management compensation plan and the transparency of it.

Longtime town accountant Leonard Marshall also received rave reviews from selectmen during his performance evaluation, winning praise for his work to oversee the installation of smart water and electric meters in homes and businesses. Marquis said Marshall was on the front line of any backlash from this project. Marshall also acts as the public works business manager and serves as chairman of the town’s Retirement Board.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.