GROTON — At a meeting Monday night, the Board of Selectmen voted to ratify a new contract with the town’s first town manager, Mark Haddad.
“He’s done an excellent job,” said Selectman Fran Dillon of Haddad’s performance. “He certainly reached the goals we set for him,” he said.
“Mark has done an excellent job and is worthy of an extension of his contract,” said Selectman Peter Cunningham.
The new contract, approved at the board’s meeting July 12, included a 3 percent increase in Haddad’s salary, from $112,000 to $115,172 annually for the next three years.
While all else remained the same as his previous contract, the agreement included the elimination of a Cost Of Living Allowance (COLA). Instead, any salary increase outside the 3 percent will be made on a performance basis.
The new contract will cover Haddad from 2011-13.
“The town of Groton got a very good deal (when it hired Haddad as town manager),” said board member Joshua Degen.
Also Monday night, the board voted unanimously to defer the lease payment owed the town by the Groton Country Club for 2010 and ’11.
According to Haddad, the deferment was absolutely necessary if the troubled club was to make ends meet.
The town manager brought the issue before the board at a previous meeting listing options for the future management of the club, with deferment of the annual lease payment the least hurtful.
Haddad reassured selectmen that the town’s operating budget could get along without the payments.
Nevertheless, selectmen made the vote with some caution. Dillon warned that the Country Club Authority needed to formulate a financial plan moving forward, while Degen expressed opposition to a suggestion that the club sell off two acres of its land to help defray expenses.
There was a brief flare-up between Degen and Haddad after Degen said he was unaware about percolation testing being performed on the acreage being proposed for sale. Haddad insisted that he had informed the board of the action.
Haddad assured Degen that if the sale of acreage were ever done, the money raised would be used only for capital expenses and never simply to cover the operating budget. Degen got the language into the motion deferring the lease payment barring the sale of acreage at the club.