Photo: Patrice Garvin
With enthusiastic backing from the Bemont Select Board, Town Administrator Patrice Garvin will be sticking around Town Hall for a few more years.
The town’s chief administrative officer was offered a new three-year contract commencing Jan. 15, 2021 at the Select Board’s Monday, Oct. 19 meeting. The agreement came after a month-long review process and negotiations during which the Chelmsford resident received praise for her resourcefulness, work ethic, and organizational skills from the three-member board.
“You could not put more effort into this job and I think she is as conscientious and as smart as they come doing this type of work,” said Board Chair Roy Epstein.
Garvin was sworn in as Belmont’s first female town administrator in Jan. 16, 2018 after a long search to find a replacement for David Kale, who served for four years.
Under the new contract, Garvins’s base pay will increase from her current $181,778.69 to $190,500 on July 1, 2021. Garvin will receive annual increases of a minimum two percent or the general pay increase for department heads, which ever is greatest.
In addition, board will hold annual performance reviews on May 1 wih possible merit increases to the base salary. As part of the performance review, Garvin and the Select Board will define the goals for the next fiscal year that they determine necessary for the Town, and the Board shall further establish a relative priority among those goals.
In her benefits package, Garvin will see her annual vacation leave increase from four to five weeks and she’ll have the standard 12 holidays including a “floating holiday” with pay to be used at any time during the calendar year. And effective July 1, 2021, the Garvin will be allowed to sell back to the town each year a maximum of 80 hours of vacation time. The town will make a $625 per month car allowance, which will be taxable.
Reply to DK, Everyone following the town affairs knows very well that refinancing town’s debt was Selectman Jim Williams’ idea. The town administrator was just doing clerical work – providing town financials that were prepared by the town’s accounting office to the lender(s), It’s a very simple process as the lenders do most of the work.
Kathy Touzjian says
Hi…….I just wrote a long comment about 1/2 an hour ago, but it’s not posted. How long does it take to show up?
Andrea, as one of the leaders in our town, I think you should think objectively and be a role model for our town, by giving the message that we are in very difficult times during this Pandemic, and that you are willing to take a pay cut. You could then put these funds towards maybe lowering the rents for Belmont business owners in our town who have had to close our businesses due to ridiculous rents and the slowing of customers. I’ve been a state employee for 30 years now and we either get a 1% raise or no raise at all. After 30 years, I don’t even make 1/2 of what you do and I continue work very hard and so do my colleagues,, despite our low pay. You can continue to work hard and take pride in your work, without a pay raise. If your going to continue in a leadership role, please be humble and fiscally responsible for everyone else’s sake; especially during this Pandemic crisis…..
Lauren Simpson says
Wow–this at a time when no one is getting a raise. And monthly car allowance of $625? That’s unbelievable especially given wild tax hikes in the city.
According to ZipRecruiter the average pay for a Massachusetts. Town Administrator is $83,201 with a $58, 127 variance. A $100,000 salary is in the 75%tile.
So the position, even in this part of Massachusetts is high. And we are not a large town! A raise and such perks on top of this salary Is way above what is warranted in the best of times for a town of only $26,000 people. There should be a wage and perks freeze for everyone during this time especially and a total reconsideration of salaries at all levels.
John Anthony Rizzo says
Add to all of the above a 5 week 6 day paid vacation benefit that allows the selling back of two weeks per year to the town and a guaranteed minimum 2 % per year pay hike – what is wrong with these select people many of us have reduced incomes, if we have a job – struggle to pay are rising R.E. Taxes and our town services are diminishing – and may I ask what great service was provided during this crisis we are in ? I see so much more being done by surrounding towns and here ?
No question it is always a challenge to get strong people at wages that the town can afford. The current town manager is doing a very good job under quite trying circumstances, and I suspect the pay increase comes nowhere close to covering all of the extra hours she has had to work to keep the town functioning under COVID.
If you are going to slam the raise to the town manager, at least also credit her team for some of their successes — for example, refinancing a sizeable chunk of the town’s debt with a significant reduction in interest payments going forward.
Just a reminder as well that members of the BOS get paid virtually nothing, and all three have other, well-compensated jobs. Every hour they dedicate to the town they lose money relative to their core career. They, too, have had to put in a tremendous amount of extra time to deal with a set of problems not encountered in the US in more than a century. It would be unrealistic to expect them to get everything right; however, your criticisms lack context on the challenges the town faces. If you can find strong candidates for these boards that will do a better job, by all means recruit them. But one shouldn’t pretend it’s a simple task that anybody can step in to provide.
Further, unlike all of our surrounding towns, Belmont has a weak commercial tax base to buffer the costs of core services to residents. This structural problem is exceedingly difficult to fix given that the town is largely built out already. Large projects with the potential to add material commercial square footage seem continually tilted into more residential by the developers.
Margaret Pelrine says
Wow! I can’t believe the increase of pay the town administrator is receiving…I’m appalled to hear from the selectmen their reasons this should be…Patrice Garvin works as the town administrator… isn’t that her job description anyway? Be organized, resourceful and meet the town’s goals?? I don’t understand this huge increase plus it must be nice to get car expenses… does Ms. Garvin have a town car? Makes sense to me the most important people who work tirelessly and have high-risk jobs are our first responders. They deserve 4% pay hike!
Allison Lenk says
Yes, Andrea, you’re correct that many residents are stunned to learn of this additional expenditure being made during this unprecedented time – it’s symptomatic of our town government lacking fiscal accountability and responsibility – a condition that’s led us to have to vote on yet another override with dire warnings of the negative consequences if it doesn’t pass. Concerned citizens need to speak up prior to the next override vote to let town officials know that the standard practice of continually raising taxes and seeking overrides is an unacceptable “solution” to our financial woes. Our group, Citizens for a Fiscally Responsible Belmont is currently discussing what our next actions will be. You may join our group on NextDoor Belmont.
Over a 4% pay increase. What is a car allowance?
Sean Greenhow says
Great point Andrea. We need to recruit strong candidates for the Select Board and other elected officials. This year has opened the eyes of many residents, including mine, on the current state town government lead by the Select Board and School Committee.
Andrea Masciari says
I don’t care how “conscientious and smart” someone is. No public servant deserves a $9,000 raise in the current economic environment. People are standing in food lines. Many people can’t pay their rent or their mortgage. Millions of people are losing their health insurance. And the select board thinks it’s acceptable to give someone this kind of pay increase. Plus a $625 monthly car allowance? Now? Really?
I understand that it takes a lot to run a town but this is not the time to reward workers for being conscientious and smart. We’re all conscientious and smart but we’re working under pay freezes and impending furloughs and layoffs.
Who’s next on the list of huge salary increases? Managers? Administrators? Police officers? Fire fighters? Where does Belmont draw the line?
I am appalled by this and I suspect I’m not the only one who will remember this when voters are asked to vote on the next override
I work for a university and we have a freeze on any salary increase, including the nominal 2% that we get in normal years. Top university administrators have taken a pay cut during Covid. I don’t understand how government administrators wouldn’t show even a token gesture of concerns for the vast number of people who have been suffering health, financial, and other losses? And what’s The car allowance?
joannne harris says
I agree with you 100% Andrea. The town needs some outside auditing and management. If this continues , no one will be moving into town and our real estates values will be low. What a mess!! Shame on the select board that people voted for and trust they will do an adequate job. It is time for people to speak up!!