EAST WINDSOR — Despite approval from the Police Commission, the Board of Selectmen did not approve raises for Police Chief Edward DeMarco Jr. and Deputy Chief Roger Hart during its meeting on Aug. 4.
A payroll change form was issued by the Police Commission during its meeting on July 13. According to the form, both DeMarco and Hart would receive an hourly pay rate increase of $7.50.
DeMarco’s rate would have increased from $69.05 to $76.55 an hour and Hart’s would have jumped from $65.59 to $73.09.
According to Police Commission Chairperson Robert Leach, the intended pay raise was based on merit and performance.
First Selectman Jason Bowsza said that the board had concerns about the significance of the raise, where the amount came from, and what the comparisons were.
Bowsza added that he requested additional information about the raises and that “there was not nearly enough support in terms of information presented to the Board of Selectmen to justify the increase.”
Leach said the fact that Bowsza did not sign off on the payroll change form left him confused. According to Leach, Bowsza has signed off on nine of the same forms in the past two months.
“This has never been an issue before,” Leach said. “I’m not sure why it is now.”
Leach also said he believed the raises did not have to be approved by the board, citing Chapter 104 Section 7-276 of the Connecticut General Statutes, which states that the commission has the power to appoint, promote, and remove officers and members of the police department.
However, Bowsza said that in this case, it is not a promotion, but a change in contract, which must be authorized by the Board of Selectmen.
The town charter states that the first selectman, with the approval of the board, has the authority to enter into, administer, and terminate contracts including, but not limited to, employment or collective bargaining agreements.
DeMarco and Hart are both contracted employees not under the collective bargaining agreement.
The contracts that they signed on Aug. 11, 2015, state that after year three, the chief and deputy chief would receive a raise of 2.25% every year for the remainder of the contract.
They signed an “evergreen contract,” which means that the agreement automatically renews if both parties believe there is no reason to renegotiate terms.
The proposed pay raise would have increased their rate by around 10%, which would have to be approved by the board.
With regards to the nine other payroll change forms that Bowsza has signed, he said those employees were covered by the collective bargaining agreement, which the Board of Selectmen has already voted on.
Collin covers East Windsor and Windsor Locks for the Journal Inquirer.