Friday, May 18, 2018

NEEDY OR GREEDY – YOU BE THE JUDGE by Larry Fillmore


Back in early 2015, our Town Council terminated the contract on the previous Town Manager and rightfully so. However, that left a critical vacancy and needed to be filled quickly. In the Town Council’s hurry to fill this critical position; the Town Council allowed Diane Barnes to include paragraph 5F under Section 5 Salary and Fringe Benefits which states and I quote “The Manager shall also receive any benefits as the Town provides to its other employees.”


This minor item has raised Mrs. Barnes’s starting salary of $87,000.00 per year to last year’s salary of $95,047.00 in just 3 years. So how is this possible? It is possible because Mrs. Barnes is misusing the Federal government Cost-of-Living Allowance (COLA) program to fill her pockets. Below is the purpose, the program was intended to be utilized for:
PURPOSE AS DEFINED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT:


A cost-of-living adjustment is made to social security and supplemental security income to counteract the effects of inflation. Cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) are typically equal to the percentage increase in the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W) for a specific period.
However, in Lisbon it has taken on an entirely new meaning. There is no inflation in the current economy and the town is not using the consumer index to determine any COLA adjustments needed. The Town Manager, Diane Barnes includes a 2% COLA allowance every year in her proposed budget and our Town Council approves it every year. This means that every year, Mrs. Barnes receives a $1,900 PLUS salary increase every year. Have any of you every received such a salary increase?

Lisbon is a small community with a tax base made up of mostly residents. This means that our taxes are always going to go up every year to offset this COLA give away.So l
 I always believed this allowance with to be given to the “Blue Collar” workers instead of those in management positions. et’s look to the impact of a Blue Collar employee making $40,000.00 per year. 2% increase is $800.00 which is still a good pay increase every year but not as substantial as $1,900.00 received by the Town Manager. I believe,Mrs. Barnes is trying to make people believe that she is looking out for the rank-in-file when she is actually lining her pockets with our tax dollars. It takes a very special type of person, in my opinion, to make money off the backs of her employees.
So how do we correct this injustice to the people? It comes in two parts”


A. The Town Council must immediately re-negotiate the Town Managers’ contract and eliminate paragraph 5F of Section 5 Salaries and Fringe Benefits. This will eliminate these massive salary increases to the Town Manager. Mrs. Barnes should be able to live comfortable on $95,000.00 yearly in Lisbon.
B. The Town Council must restrict any salary increase to ONLY those in Blue Collar positions. Those individuals in management positions make enough money off the taxpayers. Let’s look at the three recent hires”


1. Sewer Director was hired for approximately $80,000.00 per year. If you filter in the COLA this salary increases roughly $1,600.00 per year.

2. This is the same with the new Public Works Director hired for $80,000.00 per year. The COLA is the same.

3. Now, let’s look at the new Fire Chief who was hired for $70,000 per year. The COLA on this is roughly $1,400.00 per year. Also, the previous Fire Chief received $69,284.80, according to the 2016-2017 Annual Report. This was after several years on the job, so what was his starting salary?
The people in this town need to get a handle on the mismanagement of our tax dollars before it is too later. Start calling the Town Council, and tell them to stop spending and start looking for ways to save residents tax dollars.

Larry Fillmore

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

LISBON TOWN COUNCIL TURNS BACK ON RESIDENTS by Larry Fillmore

I just reviewed the Police Department’s 2018-2019 proposed budget during the May 8th Town Council Workshop and Special meeting. Every citizen of Lisbon should review this portion of the meeting starting a 1:42 of the Live Stream Video.
Chief Hagan outlined his department’s need for the upcoming year. Chief Hagan made a very important statement and that was the majority of towns are being sued because of the lack of training and direct supervision. I agree totally with Chief Hagan, it is critical that the Town of Lisbon reduce its liability.

Police Department needs:


1. Add a part-time Information Technology position in the Lisbon Communication Center; so that the Patrol Sergeant currently performing these duties can return to Patrol. Cost is approximately $1,600.00 to $4,000.00.

2. Promote a Communication specialist to a Communication Supervisory. Cost is $1,040.00 to $4,800.00.

3. Hired two additional Patrol Officers. Cost $69,000.00 each.

These current requirements a and b can be eliminated; had the Town Council voted two years ago to close the Lisbon Communication Center by utilizing the Androscoggin County Dispatch. According to two former Councilors; the cost savings to the taxpayers would be roughly $200,000.00 per year. However, this did not happen.

Last year, this same subject came up and was again voted done by Councilors Ward, Brunnelle, Crafts and Albert. The major reason was the town did not want to lose control of dispatching. Mr. Fern LaRochelle fought extremely hard to keep the Lisbon Communication Center open. What Mr. LaRochelle failed to tell everyone is that he is and was an Independent Contractor working directly with the Lisbon Communication Center. I guarantee you that id this issue comes before Council, Mr. LaRochelle (now a councilor) will vote on this issue because there is absolutely no “Conflict of Interest” on anything in Lisbon.

The option to save taxpayer dollars is still available but our Town Council has no interest in saving the residents money instead they had rather raise taxes. This Council is not looking to cut taxes but to increase our taxes. This, to me, is the wrong approach. Is it NOT a wise decision to put an additional burden on taxpayers when there is an opportunity to save taxpayers money?

This year, the Town Council voted to bail-out Lisbon Emergency Inc. at a price to taxpayers of $127,885.00 for the budget 2018-2019. I do not know where all this additional money is going to be coming from other than the taxpayers. Add all the additional requirements to the Town Manager’s already increase of $1,900,000.00 this year so what’s going to happen to your taxes. But do not worry, according to the Town Manager, Diane Barnes, the Council has reduced her budget proposal by roughly $75,000.00. What impact do you think this is going to have on our tax bills this year?

The people of Lisbon elected our Town Councilors to look out for the best interest of the community. I do not feel we are getting this from our Town Council when a “political” decision takes priority over a “sound financial” decision. What is in the best interest of the community and its people should be the ONLY determining factor when making decisions.

Call your Councilor and tell them to stop wasting our tax dollars and start looking for ways to reduce our taxes.

Larry Fillmore