AYER -- A complaint stemming from the Town Clerk's Office is bringing up a larger issue of workload and appreciation for Town hall employees.
In a letter to Town Administrator Robert Pontbriand, Assistant Town Clerk Lauri Fritz argued that her duties are increasing, but her pay is not.
She cited a request by Town Clerk John Canney to check off the names on all nomination papers, a job usually reserved for the Board of Registrars.
"I am willing to assist John, but feel that there are many tasks that have been handed over to me since John became Town Clerk and it seems that my duties are growing longer but no one wants to compensate me with more pay," she said in the letter.
But Fritz maintained that the issue is not with Canney, since the Town Hall Clerical Union is the entity that negotiates her pay.
"He told me he'd fight for me if I need it," she said in an interview. "He'd love to give me a raise, but he can't do it, it's not in the budget."
Canney seemed to follow the necessary steps required before asking Fritz to work on the nomination papers. The Board of Registrars voted to authorize employees of the clerk's office to carry out all actions required by registrars, according to minutes of a Feb. 21 registrars meeting obtained from Canney. This includes certifying the signatures on nomination papers.
Canney said he does not see what the issue is.
"I have no control over their union, all I know is that we're acting within regulations to do the job," he said.
The problem of increased workload, Fritz said, has been mentioned for a while, but because the union is so new she was never told how to go about addressing it.
Meanwhile, Pontbriand said Fritz has to take this to her union, since all work changes for union employees are subject to collective bargaining.
"This really should go through the grievance process of her union," he said. "In other words, she should file a Step 1 grievance with John, who's her immediate supervisor, and start there."
Fritz said she likely has one of the lowest hourly salaries in Town Hall. Her income for her full-time position is listed at $42,036.80 for fiscal year 2014, according to the accountant's office.
Fritz said she is only asking for fairness.
"I don't want to name names, I don't want to name departments, but I've been here many years and other people get something for the extra work that they put in," she said.
She said the union should reconsider her position and that her letter is mainly a "heads up."
"I like my job and everything, but sometimes it just gets the better of you because you feel as if you're not appreciated," she said.
Nashoba Publishing reached out to a number listed for a Susan Sullivan, the name of the union president, for comment. The call has not yet been returned.