New Ipswich Select Board approves police salary increases

  • The New Ipswich Police Department. (BEN CONANT / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Copyright Monadnock Ledger-Transcript. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to news@ledgertranscript.com. Staff photo by Ben Conant

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 12/30/2020 3:57:53 PM

The New Ipswich Select Board voted 2-1 to significantly increase police salaries in the proposed budget for the coming year.

The board has been discussing police salaries for several weeks, after Police Chief Tim Carpenter discussed with the board the long-standing issue the department has had retaining officers. He told the board New Ipswich has been a “training ground” where officers often get their start, stay a few years, and then move on for better pay or into other fields.

On Tuesday, the board made a final decision on the police salary lines, voting 2-1, with Selectman David Lage dissenting, to increase the police salary line to $434,606.

That number is $28,588 more than what was originally proposed for police salaries this year – $406,000 – which represents a possible 3 percent wage increase for all officers based on merit.

One of the issues that was a sticking point for Lage was a proposal to increase the police chief salary to $95,000 annually.

Selectman John Veeser said the increase was based on a 2019 wage survey for police chiefs in New Hampshire, which shows a $98,432 average salary for a police chief. Lage, however, said not all towns paid that much, and New Ipswich was a small town, and the salary wouldn’t be in line with comparable populations.

Veeser argued New Ipswich’s placement as a border town to Massachusetts should come into play.

“I would argue that point, because we’re on the border,” Veeser said. He said some issues, such as drugs, “overflow” from Massachusetts into New Hampshire. “I think we need to think about that and what we’re doing,” Veeser said.

Veeser also proposed increasing the police administrator’s salary to $40,000 annually, commensurate with the state average. Lage questioned whether the administrator position should be considered with the wage increases for officers, rather than the annual 3 percent cost-of-living merit raise that the other town employees are being considered for. Residents will vote on the entirety of the budget on March 9 at the polls.

Veeser said for the majority of salaries, Carpenter would have the final say on pay raises based on experience and rank, but the increase would allow officers to approach the state averages.

Ultimately, Veeser and Selectman Shawn Talbot voted to increase the salary line for police officers to $434,606, with Lage voting against.

If passed, the wage increase could have a bigger impact in the 2022 budget, as two empty positions are currently being calculated for paying nine months worth of salaries, as the town completes the hiring process.

Voters are scheduled to hear a full account of the proposed budget on Jan. 19 during the town’s budget hearing. Voters can vote to finalize the budget, or offer amendments to it, during the town’s deliberative session, scheduled for Feb. 2 at 6 p.m., with a snow date of Feb. 6 at 10 a.m.

Residents are scheduled to take a final vote on the budget during the March Town Meeting at the polls on March 9.

Petition warrant articles must be submitted to the town offices by Jan. 8, with signatures from 25 registered town voters.


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