On the petition of Sunny Kravitz and at least 25 Hampton registered voters, we request that a Warrant be placed on the 2018 Town Meeting of Hampton for the following:
Shall the voters of Hampton vote on all non-union wage and/or benefit increase that exceed the annual Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment.
For a number of years the Board of Selectmen has voted during the fall to grant wage and benefit increases to a few not elected non-union employees. In the future all such increases must be approved in a Warrant Article by the-tax payers of Hampton.
What it means: Some Town Hall employees do not belong to a union and are not elected. Those employees receive wage increases via an evaluation and recommendation process that culminates with a vote by the Board of Selectmen. The petitioner is asking that any such increases that are above the Cost of Living Adjustments afforded to Social Security recipients be placed as additional Warrant Articles rather than being approved by Town Boards.
Those in favor say: This would give voters more control over personnel costs for this group of employees.
Those against say: There are 31 full and part-time employees who can be described as non-union and non-elected. Their circumstances, evaluations, seniority and wage status will all be different and probably could not be incorporated into a single Warrant Article. So this would involve several Warrant Articles, but the voters would have no way of knowing who is deserving of what increase. In 2015, one Town employee tried asking for a wage increase by way of a Warrant Article. That Article was defeated and comments at the time were that even if you agree that the employee deserves a raise, the ballot is not the way to do it. With regard to that issue, a Letter to the Hampton Union commented that personnel administration should not take place in the ballot box.
No rationale is provided for tying wage increases of working people to the increases of retired people on a fixed income. People receiving Social Security get an increase every time the Cost of Living Adjustment is positive. Town employees often go years without getting any increase at all. Further, payroll deductions on the part of working men and women is what supports the current beneficiaries of Social Security. There is no guarantee that workers currently paying in to the Social Security will ever be able to collect from the system themselves. It is important that they save for their own retirement, and they need appropriate increases to be able to do that.
Fiscal Impact: No direct tax impact.