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AYER — Selectmen have decided that the way the town grants wage increases for town employees needs to be looked at, and possibly changed, after the board voted 4-to-1 to approve the wage rates for fiscal year 2009.

“The compensation plan has been abused in the past and I think we have a lot of work to do,” Selectman Cornelius “Connie” Sullivan said of his dissenting vote.

Though the board agrees the way increases are handed out needs review, Selectman Gary Luca voted in favor of the proposed rates.

“We made a commitment to our employees to pay them a certain rate next year,” he said. “We need to stick by that.”

Sullivan said he isn’t questioning the capability of the town staff, just the way reviews are handled.

“It says ‘subject to satisfactory employee evaluations,'” Sullivan said. “But what is the practice of the town?”

Employee evaluations are written by either the department heads, town accountant Lisa Gabree or town administrator Shaun Suhoski.

“The system needs work, I agree,” Suhoski said.

The board agreed to aggressively address the issue at an upcoming meeting. — Gayle Simone

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