During my campaign for President of the Easton Town Council, some people have privately mentioned to me that I should be less irritated and less blunt regarding some of the serious issues occurring at Town Hall. By nature, I am a positive person; I believe that Easton has the potential to better serve its citizens by working together, but in order to achieve that, we need to deal with some painful issues that should not be happening on the taxpayers’ dime. If you are unaware of what is taking place, below are some examples you have the right to know about.
Misuse of Taxpayer Dollars: The Town of Easton used your tax dollars to pay for two months of health insurance for former mayor Bob Willey’s wife’s health insurance premiums despite Mr. Willey no longer being a town official and Mrs. Willey not being a town employee. This expense was also not budgeted. Is the town going to help pay for your health insurance premiums if you ask them? Most likely not. Is the town going to pay for the current mayor’s husband when she leaves office? Quite possibly. That makes me angry, and it should make you angry, too.
Special Privileges for Certain Employees: In the previous and the current administrations, two of the most highly paid town employees have been exempted from having to contribute to their share of health insurance coverage. Meanwhile, every other town employee; from our newest hires to our highly experienced veterans have money deducted from their paychecks to pay for their coverage. That makes me angry, and it should make you angry, too.
Violation of Federal Law with Contract Employment: The town is also paying healthcare costs for a contract employee, which is a violation of federal law. A contractor should be responsible for funding their own healthcare. So, a person who is not an employee of the town gets their healthcare paid, while employees have to pay for it themselves. Not only is this a violation, but it is an insult. That makes me angry, and it should make you angry, too.
Violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA): The town has not classified all executive and managerial employees exempt from overtime, as the act states. This results in the most highly paid administrative and supervisory employees wrongly receiving overtime pay. Cumulatively, this comes to hundreds of thousands of your taxpayer dollars being paid to employees who should not receive it, under the FLSA. That makes me angry, and it should make you angry, too.
Creating a Hostile Work Environment: When serving as your Ward 1 councilperson, I had been approached by town employees who informed me that the town manager and certain staff members had interrogated them regarding conversations they have had with their duly elected town council members to interfere with their inquiries about town business. A positive work environment is one where people feel safe to report items that concern them, especially with their elected officials. This type of culture is not tolerated in the private sector and should not be in public administration. But unfortunately, it is occurring. That makes me angry, and it should make you angry, too.
Not Following Rules the Rest of Us Have To: As an example, when town hall was remodeled, the town did not appear before the Historic District Commission for a hearing and approval, like every other citizen, business or organization in a Historic District does. Why not? Why do you have to follow the rules and get penalized, but the town does not? That makes me angry, and it should make you angry, too.
You may ask, “Why didn’t you let the mayor and council president know, when you were representing Ward 1?” The answer is, I did. I brought these issues up and they were ignored, which inspired my campaign for Mayor and now, Council President.
As Town Council President, I pledge that I will work with the mayor and council to ensure that we have a well-managed, open, transparent, fiscally responsible government that fully complies with all local, state and federal laws and regulations.
As always, please contact me with your concerns at 410.253.9178 or [email protected] . I appreciate your feedback and respectfully ask for your support on September 12th.
Al Silverstein is a candidate for the Easton Council President. The Election will be help of September 12.