The Wagner flyers were abhorrent. That could be considered an opinion, but it’s a widely shared one and an argument easily won.
And we might also all agree that a modest level of health insurance coverage awarded a long-serving and beloved mayor upon leaving office shouldn’t be a problem. That was my reaction; but could an employee benefit not awarded similarly to all Town employees, even one identified as as a gift of special recognition, under certain circumstances become a concern?
Absent either shared experiences or wide recognition of a problem, Al’s “angry” letter wasn’t likely to win hearts and minds. But upon those occasions might we find “payment of health insurance benefits for the appointed town attorney (or any other official) common practice,” whether lawful or not, a step too far?
Offering such a benefit to our very modestly compensated Town Council and Town Mayor is not only understandable, we would all likely agree it’s commendable.
Easton Town Council members are currently paid a fraction of the compensation ($5,000, members, and $6,000, president) awarded County Council members (four times those numbers, and earning every penny). But who else is receiving these benefits?
Compensation moves in the opposite direction for our town and county managers. Those salaries are not not as frequently shared, but they are a matter of public record; and Town compensation at certain levels may understandably have become a concern.
For example, our Talbot County Manager’s salary (2022) is close to the average amount awarded for this position in Maryland, while the Easton Town Manager’s salary is considerably higher.
Awarded by the town council at their discretion, as described in town code, a bit of research would seem to make Al’s concerns understandable and worthy of consideration.
At this point, and despite the Wagner flyers, Al remains hopeful for an opportunity to make progress toward a regional hospital and continue to promote worthy town infill; but however things go Tuesday, he is heartened by the “support of so many new friends” and intends to throw a party to celebrate Tuesday’s election, “no matter the outcome.”