November 6, 2009
Town to save $48,246 with COLA cuts

GOFFSTOWN - Goffstown municipal employees will feel the pinch next year, with the town cutting cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) and switching to new insurance plans for non-union employees.

“This is not an easy topic, and I think we all know it. I think the employees of the town know it,” Scott Gross, chairman of the Board of Selectmen, said Monday night. “We’re not trying to save the town on the backs of our employees.”

The town has historically given non-union employees cost-of-living adjustments of 4 percent a year, but voted last night 4-1 to cut that to 2 percent for all non-union employees.

Selectman Nick Campasano voted against the motion, after introducing a motion that would have given a 4 percent cost-of-living adjustment as a lump sum payment to anyone who was not scheduled to receive a step raise that year. People with one to eight years on the job are given step raises; after eight years, employees begin receiving longevity pay, which is paid in lump sums and capped at a set amount.

Campasano said he felt an across the board percentage created a disparity, with some people receiving just the cost-of-living adjustment and others their step raises. Other members of the board agreed that was an issue, and also discussed a need to revisit the town’s pay structure matrix for employees, but said they did not know the potential savings or unintended effects of Campasano’s motion.

The cut of the cost-of-living adjustment from 4 percent to 2 percent for non-union employees will save the town $48,246, Town Administrator Sue Desruisseaux said.

In order to reduce what Desruisseaux said was a 17 percent increase in health insurance costs, she also recommended changes to insurance plans for non-union employees to the board.

Next year there will be two managed-care insurance plan options for non-union employees, instead of three. The price of copayments and prescriptions will rise, and there will be a deductible for some services, such as CT scans and hospital stays. Desruisseaux said the town did have enough time to consider higher-deductible plans, noting that they would be a more drastic change from current plans.

The vote passed 3-2, with Selectmen Steven Fournier and Vivian Blondeau voting against.


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