Letter: Dalton taxpayers will feel brunt of police chief changeover

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To the editor:

Attention Daltonians: At an open session of the Dalton Select Board on Aug. 5, the board ratified an employment contract for Anthony Riello as newly appointed Interim Dalton police chief. The contract calls for an annual salary of $110,000 plus a $5,000 bonus. Former Chief Jeffery Coe's annual salary was only $94,173; this is an increase of $15,827 for Mr. Riello not including the $5,000 bonus. Furthermore, Mr. Riello will be acting in a purely administrative capacity and not in a certified law enforcement officer capacity, as Chief Coe was doing. According to the contract signed by a majority of the board Mr. Riello's pay will amount to $2,107.20 per week.

Sgt. Christopher Furlong, who held the position of acting chief for several months, served his regular eight-hour shift and received an additional three hours of overtime ($150) per week for the chief's duties. By all accounts, he performed these duties admirably. Yet, a majority of the Dalton Select Board chose to reject him when he was nominated by the town manager to fill the role of interim chief.

Take notice, Dalton taxpayers. There is a big difference between $150 per week and $2,107.20 per week.

Additionally, the claim by Select Board Chairman Bob Bishop in the Aug. 8 Eagle that the compensation figures were not on hand is ludicrous. The contract with compensation information was made available to all board members electronically prior to Wednesday night's meeting. Plus, a figure like "$110,000" is hard to forget in the span of a few days.

Finally, the complete financial accounting of the Chief Coe fiasco has not been finished, but it is at least several hundred thousand dollars. If you are a Dalton taxpayer and are concerned about where your money goes, you should take a long hard look at recent Select Board actions.

John F. Boyle,

Dalton

The writer is a member of the Dalton Select Board.

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