MOUNT MORRIS – The Village Board voted in favor of a $3,500 pay increase for newly elected mayor Frank Provo.
Provo, whose term began April 1, 2017, is the recipient of a board-approved pay increase from $6,500 per year to $10,000 per year.
“There are a lot of things that take priorities and there are some other things that don’t,” said Provo in response to a public comment on the pay increase. “There are pay raises going on. They are going to be negotiated for the police department, for the streets union, and for all of the different people working in the front office and our supervisors. That is all taken into consideration every year while we’re doing this also. So it’s not just saying ‘one person is taking all this.’ Because I think that’s the attitude that’s coming across if you’re saying ‘a pay raise.'”
The pay raise was proposed after the previous Village Board proposed a tentative budget with a mayor’s salary of $6,500. All board members but Trustee Geoff Pagano voted in favor of the increase. There are no proposed salary increases for trustees.
“Everybody is welcome to those meetings,” said Provo. “They are open to everyone to come and see what’s going on. The paperwork is on the front table. It sits there for months while it’s being proposed.”
Monday night’s Village Board meeting was packed, as usual, with about 20 members of the public in attendance at any given time. Two made public comment on the mayor’s pay increase.
“You can only do it at that time of the year, and I felt at that point, and I did talk to the other board members about it, OK, if it was something that we could do,” said Provo. “Obviously, it was voted on. You can look at it any way you want to look at it. That’s all I can tell you.”
Provo said that other Livingston County mayors, like Dansville’s, make substantially more money than Mount Morris’. Dansville’s mayor makes $18,000 per year. It is worth noting that Dansville’s mayor is a full-time position and Mount Morris’ is part-time.
Trustee Guy Brickwood said that in the past, from the public’s point of view on the other side of the board table, he would not have voted in favor of the raise, but now that he has worked as a Trustee for two years, he is on board.
“Two years ago, on that side of the table, I wouldn’t have voted for the raise,” said Brickwood. “But I see the abuse and the work that actually goes into it. After two years of working here, I get it. And that’s why I voted for it. […] It’s a bit of preventative measure that we don’t have another unemployed mayor because he spent too much time mayoring and not enough time working.”
Village Clerk Lisa Torcello offered to go over the budget with any concerned members of the public.
“If anybody would like a copy of the Mayor’s budget, I would be more than glad to go over it and show you what has truly been cut, in any line item, in any department,” said Torcello. “I will go over it line by line and show you what is the true number, not the fake numbers that are being in the gossip in the Village because there is a lot of gossip and me myself have heard it. I’m in the office every day, 8 to 4. Fridays, 9 to 1.”