GNH Lumber February 2024

Chatham to revisit who’s paid what


CHATHAM–The Town Board met Monday night for the annual organizational meeting and approved the salaries and stipends for employees and committee members for 2014. The meeting included at the beginning a discussion of town’s pay structure. Supervisor Jesse DeGroodt said the board plans to look at salaries and internally review the amounts for next year’s budget.

“We have a 10-year-old salary structure,” Supervisor DeGroodt said after the meeting January 6. “The Finance Committee is going to look at it,” he said. That committee is made up of board members Bob Balcom and Henry Swartz, and town residents David Levow, Jeff Lick and Aven Kerr.

In an email to The Columbia Paper after the meeting Mr. Balcom said the issue involved the first deputy clerk position, which was recently created by the board. Shari Franks, who served until late last year as town recreation director, was appointed deputy clerk in addition to her role as director of the recreation program. Her total annual salary for the year will be $41,858, up $300 from her salary last year. Town Clerk/Tax Collector Beth Anne Rippel earns $30,300 in her elected position.

When Ms. Franks was initially appointed deputy clerk last December, and at that time her duties and title as recreation director became part of the deputy clerk position. In his email, Mr. Balcom wrote that he suggested to the board that “maybe we should determine a value for the deputy clerk position and then create a stipend for the recreation director duties.”

Mr. Balcom also wrote that he believes all members of the board considered the salary for the position of recreation director too high.

Mr. DeGroodt said at the meeting that issue would not be solved that evening and that is why the Finance Committee has been assigned to look into the matter.

The board then moved to other matters, approving the fees for Town Attorney Tal Rappleyea, who will receive $10,000 as a general retainer and $125 for litigation and “other similar substantial work” for the town. Mr. DeGroodt said the fee arrangement with the attorney is “what it’s been for years.”

Other decisions on wages, salaries and personnel adopted by the board this week include:

Counselors and lifeguards for the summer program at Crellin Park will receive slight increases this summer, reflecting the state’s new, higher minimum wage

Zoning and Code Enforcement Officer Walt Simonsmeier will make $35,714 for 2014

Highway Superintendent Joseph Rickert will make $56,768; Deputy High Superintendent Timothy Calyer will make $51,138

Members of the Zoning and Planning boards in 2014 will receive annual stipends of $2,655, with the chairmen receiving $3,700 and the deputy chairmen $3,100

Mr. DeGroodt will receive $14,000 as supervisor

Town Board members will be paid $4,500 each for the year

Members of the Town Board were appointed to various committees and positions, including court liaison and village liaisons, as well as highway and other town departments, a cable TV and Internet committee, disaster planning committee, and a bargaining committee for negotiations with employees.

The agenda from the organization meeting with the list of appointments and salaries will be on the town’s website

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email



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