Casco rewards TM with pay increase

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — On Monday night, Casco Town Manager Dave Morton heard kudos and praise. In addition to words that are nice to hear, elected officials gave him a raise.

The first pay adjustment since 2007 — five years ago.

During its regular meeting, the Casco Board of Selectmen was split on its decision to raise Morton’s pay by 3 % for the upcoming fiscal year.

According to paperwork provided, Morton earns an annual salary of approximately $75,000. A three-percent increase would add $2,250 to his paycheck over the course of a year.

The vote was 3-2, with selectmen Paul Edes and Ray Grant opposing the pay hike for the town manager.

Although the vote for Morton’s pay raise was not unanimous, public support was solid. Compliments arose from both the audience and the board table.

A few people approached the podium and waited to speak when the board began to make comparisons of Morton’s wages and benefits to those of town managers in the surrounding towns.

“He is not the highest paid, but he is the longest serving,” Casco Fire Chief Jason Moen said.

Moen quickly reminded the board that he was a taxpayer, too. His words summed up that Morton had served in his capacity for decades, and has done so well. Plus, he made the point that in comparison to region town managers, Morton was underpaid, especially given the years of service.

“As a taxpayer, I support that three percent,” Moen said.

South Casco resident Rick Thorpe, who was standing behind Moen, said, “That’s the same thing I was going to say.” He walked away from the microphone.

Selectman Mary-Vienessa Fernandes backed up the sentiment that had been expressed.

“I am familiar with other town managers (on the list.)

Dave is like a walking archive for me, especially when I am trying to research local history. I don’t have to dig for that — it is in his brain,” Fernandes said.

Earlier in the discussion, she said his yearly pay of $75,000 “is on the low end.”

Selectman Grant calculated that with benefits included Morton’s annual salary was closer to $81,000.

In past discussions, Grant has favored the belief that if an employee gets a raise in salary, that cost should be offset by reducing benefits or requiring the employee to pay a percentage. He has said this is how a lot of companies are doing business in the current economic climate; and the town should follow suit.

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