Details clarified in ERT chairperson wages debate
AMENIA — According to information obtained through town Bookkeeper Sherry Johnson and town council member Vicki Doyle, it was revealed that the current chairperson of the Amenia Emergency Response Team has been paid as least $489.60 for work done during storm emergencies in 2011. Seventeen work hours were submitted on a pay sheet for a March 2011 storm. An additional 13 hours were submitted for an August 2011 storm.That makes the average pay rate $16.32 per hour.An interview with Dawn Marie Klingner, who currently holds the title of the chairperson for the Emergency Response Team, revealed that the chairperson does not receive a set salary for fulfilling the position. Instead, the chairperson receives hourly wages for work done during declared states of emergency.“Nothing has been done different this year than has been done in the past,” said Klingner in regard to the pay. She said that the vouchers prove that several other Emergency Response Team chairpeople have received hourly pay for work done as the Emergency Response Team chairperson during emergency situations.“I work with the supervisor hand in hand when there is an emergency,” said Klingner, explaining that the duties of the position include coordinating with state and local officials about storm-related issues, such as impassable roads and closures, to ensure the safety of the community. Klingner also explained that there is no separate budget line for the position’s pay, but the money has traditionally come out of the supervisor’s budget line. Never, she stressed, has she gone over the maximum amount of work hours.