Cairo highway department salaries stir controversy
Valerie White is reporting for Porcupine Soup the Cairo Town Board meeting last week degenerated into chaos as highway department concerns and town employee salary issues dominated the discussion. Town Supervisor Jason Watts had to call for order several times as shouting matches broke out among attendees. Cairo resident Leon Uptegrove claimed there was too great a discrepancy between salaries for the highway department and those for other employees like the town’s bookkeeper. “We pay you,” Uptegrove said. “Why should [other] town employees sacrifice? Why don’t you sacrifice?” At a meeting on May 9, the town board Increased the bookkeeper's salary by more than 10 percent to approximately $70,000. Uptegrove contended that town highway employees are not properly compensated for the work they do, which includes vital services such as snow plowing and road repair. Highway department employees are unionized. Uptegrove told the board, “You can’t find employees because you don’t pay.” Several employees of the highway department were on hand for the meeting and weighed in on safety issues and salaries, though more calmly than Uptegrove. “We’re losing guys,” highway employee Jim Gilmore said, and others from the highway department agreed that low salaries are the main cause of difficulty in finding and replacing workers. Watts pointed out that the town provides benefits that many private employers do not. Read the full story at porcupine soup [dot] com.