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Nice work if he can get it, and who's to stop Koetzle from trying?

Nice work if he can get it, and who's to stop Koetzle from trying?

Too-fast maneuver may not save taxpayers a dime but will enrich current part-time supervisor

Glenville residents should be scratching their heads over a plan by Supervisor Chris Koetzle — announced less than two weeks after winning re-election — to make his supervisor’s job full-time, with an accompanying increase in pay from $19,152 to $83,000. Say what?

Koetzle has served as a part-time supervisor since 2009, yet he said in Friday’s Gazette story that he’s “always believed this is a full-time job.” Maybe, but when the question came up during his recent campaign, he never said he’d attempt to change it (as his opponent did).

His explanation is that the day after the election, Director of Operations Jamie MacFarland announced he was going to “retire” at the end of the year, which opened the door for an upgrade.

Town residents may recall that MacFarland, who has worked for the town in various capacities for 27 years, earned his promotion in 2011 — exactly a year after Koetzle eliminated a similar town administrator’s position to save money. In his capacity as operations director, MacFarland has overseen the parks and recreation department, senior citizen and youth services and human resources. Koetzle is a relative newbie, serving on the Town Board since 2007 but holding no other job with the town.

Perhaps Koetzle’s power play would make more sense if MacFarland were truly retiring — and the town were saving the cost of Koetzle’s current salary. But this is not the plan. The supervisor says he’s going to ask the Town Board to keep his $19,000 salary in the budget so MacFarland can stay on part-time to handle responsibilities that the supervisor traditionally doesn’t handle, like parks and senior services. (Frankly, it sounds pretty much like what he’s been doing.)

We concede that part-time supervisors in mid-sized towns like Glenville often put in more than part-time hours (though there’s no set number of hours for these jobs). And Koetzle is hardly the first such supervisor to seek full-time status, and pay, to reflect the hard work their job entails. And while almost any politician will complain that they put in far more hours than they get paid for, those were the terms of the job they ran for, and it seems disingenuous — regardless of the circumstances — to seek to change them right after Election Day.

At the very least, there should be a public hearing on a change like this but Koetzle says budgetary time constraints make holding one impossible. Thus the only opportunity for residents to speak up about it will be at Wednesday’s meeting, during the privilege of the floor.

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