Wendell Finance Committee recommends $3K pay bump for town coordinator

GLENN JOHNSON-MUSSAD

GLENN JOHNSON-MUSSAD

By DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer

Published: 05-13-2024 12:43 PM

WENDELL — The Finance Committee plans to recommend a $3,000 raise for the town coordinator, seven weeks after he proposed a salary increase he said would better mirror the pay of leadership positions in towns similar in size to Wendell.

Glenn Johnson-Mussad was told via email from Thomas Richardson, co-chair of the Finance Committee, that the raise will be recommended in addition to a 4.5% cost-of-living adjustment for fiscal year 2025 “as an offer in good faith that we will look into this and make a more educated decision once we are able to collect more data of this topic.” Johnson-Mussad said he believes the Finance Committee’s salary increase recommendation will be considered by voters at Annual Town Meeting on June 8.

Johnson-Mussad had addressed the Selectboard at its March 20 meeting and presented figures the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) compiled regarding salaries of town administrators and coordinators.

“On this scale, Wendell has the lowest hourly wage for a town coordinator by a substantial amount, if my math is right,” he said at the time. He explained that he works 28 hours a week at $25 per hour, making $36,520 a year. The next lowest in FRCOG’s data is $60,060 for Leyden’s municipal assistant. Selectboard members said they wanted the Finance Committee to further examine the matter.

Johnson-Mussad, who became town coordinator in January 2022, said he averaged the hourly wage from towns comparable to Wendell and arrived at $34. Johnson-Mussad mentioned New Salem is the only comparable town with fewer hours per week. Town Coordinator Kathy Neal reportedly works 24 hours a week at $34 an hour, for $42,268 per year.

“I understand that trying to look at all wage disparities for Wendell employees or even beginning any type of systematic process in time for the Town Meeting would be very difficult. I also understand that you can’t solve the problem of even just my wage all at once,” Johnson-Mussad wrote in an email to the Selectboard and Finance Committee. “But it’s extremely unfair that I should be paid so much less than what my colleagues in other towns are being paid.”

He also said the current salary leaves the town in a difficult position should he find employment elsewhere, as his fellow applicants reportedly withdrew from the process when they learned of the pay.

Johnson-Mussad was hired to replace Alisha Brouillet, who served as town coordinator for four months before stepping down due to personal reasons. Brouillet replaced Nancy Aldrich, who worked as the town coordinator of Wendell and neighboring New Salem.

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Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-930-4120.