For the second meeting in a row, there were fireworks between Board of Selectmen members in Somers about how to move on from a controversial set of raises and bonuses.
NBC Connecticut Investigates broke the story last month about the first selectman giving himself pay bump without his colleagues knowing anything about it.
Soon after the report, Somers First Selectman Bud Knorr apologized and said he would give back the raise and bonus he gave himself, yet at his board’s latest meeting he still faced criticism.
Selectman Tim Keeney was very outspoken about pay raises and bonuses for town staffers, in particular, those to Knorr, saying there was zero discussion of a pay increase.
“You can talk about all you want how everything’s transparent, but guess what? It’s not!”Keeney said.
This budget year Knorr gave himself a 4% raise and a $3,000 bonus. It led to tense words, as transcribed below:
“You have two selectmen that were in the dark when it came to pay raises and bonuses for town employees and others…That’s an optics problem. Huge ethics problem," Keeney said.
“Well it’s a trust problem," Selectman Timothy Potrikus said.
"Yeah," Keeney said.
“It’s not an ethics problem," Knorr countered.
“It sure is an ethics problem," Keeney responded.
“It’s not an ethics problem. It’s an optics problem. And I already apologized for that," Knorr argued.
The selectmen agreed to set up a performance review board to approve raises and bonuses for Somers employees.
Knorr said he and the chief financial officer would look at similar plans in neighboring towns to serve as a starting point
In the end the selectmen agreed they would do their own research on a performance review board, that they will discuss at their August 20 meeting.