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With unanimous support from the Cheshire Town Council, Town Manager Michael Milone received a three-percent pay increase on Tuesday night.
This is Milone's first pay increase in the last two years, as he has voluntarily forgone raises in light of the economic climate. Milone's salary will increase to $135,497 annually, or about $3,950 more than his previous salary, and is effective as of July 1, 2011. In addition to the pay raise, Milone's contract as Town Manager was extended until June 30, 2014, which adds an extra year to his previous agreement. The Town's share of Milone's retirement plan was also increased.
The Council has met with Milone over the past few weeks in executive session to discuss his review, but all the comments made at the Sept. 13 Town Council meeting were nothing short of glowing. Town Councilor and Personnel Committee Chairman Tom Ruocco said that what Milone received was "very well deserved." He explained that Milone has done a good job in the last year, with the hiring of a new Police Chief, overcoming financial hurdles, and planning for the upgrades to the treatment plant.
"He's a very hard worker and he doesn't receive overtime. It would be a lower hourly rate if you calculated how many hours he works," Ruocco said. "This compensation package is well deserved. He's done a good job."
Town Councilor Michael Ecke said Milone puts on a "great face" for the Cheshire government in the community. He stated that, even if the Town wanted to look for a new Town Manager, "we couldn't do any better."
"We would have to hire two people to replace him," Ecke said. "I hope he stays another 10 years."
Councilor Sylvia Nichols, who is relatively new to her position, explained that Milone has helped her in her transition and always provides the facts that assist her in making decisions. She said he was "very responsive" not only to the Council, but to the public as well.
"We are lucky in Cheshire to have such a dedicated town manager," she stated.
Milone thanked the Council for its support, "not just tonight alone, but over the past few years." Working in local government is a challenge, he reflected, and not one person can make or break it. He said he is one of just 200 to 300 full- or part-time Cheshire employees, and the Town wouldn't run as well without all of them.
Councilor Andy Falvey, who said he has worked with Milone for the past 15 years, insisted the town is "well served" to have him as Town Manager.
Town Councilor and Budget Committee Chairman David Schrumm also offered his suppost, saying that, if someone drives by Town Hall on a night, weekend, or even holiday, they would probably see Milone's car sitting in the parking lot. Schrumm said Milone spends "a lot of time" working for the Town and applauded him for that. Over the past few years, when Milone was recommending difficult budgets, he "led by example" by forgoing raises, Schrumm explained.
"I commend him for that," Schrumm said. "There are many reasons Cheshire has been chosen as a great place to live and one of those reasons is Michael Milone."