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Citizens for Limited Taxation

Town extends King's contract:
But manager won't get a raise
Friday, September 26, 2003
Craig MacCormack Metrowest Daily News
FRAMINGHAM -- Selectmen last night announced a one-year extension of Town Manager George King's contract, keeping him in the corner office of the Memorial Building through June 30, 2006.

Budget tightening made it impossible for the board to offer King the 6 percent merit raise his contract calls for in fiscal 2004, but his recent glowing review made most members conclude an extension was warranted.

"The board feels that the Town Manager's outstanding performance evaluation deserves to be recognized and rewarded," according to a press release announcing the move, which was done in lieu of a $7,000 pay increase.

"The Board feels that stability within the Town Manager's office, and by extension, to the rest of the staff, is key to the long-term interests of town government," the announcement continued.

King, for his part, was happy with the board's decision.  This is the fourth time since King took over for Russell Marcoux in April 1999 that selectmen have tacked on an extra year to his deal.

"I appreciate the support of the board," he said last night.

Some residents have wondered if extending King's contract beyond five years is a way around Town Meeting regulations that restrict such a move.  Contracts of more than five years must get the approval of Town Meeting.

Selectmen Vice Chairwoman Ginger Esty was among those who has criticized the practice, saying "it was probably a mistake on the part of the selectmen to be talked into that.  It gets around a bylaw of the town."

Esty did not submit a review of King this year, saying her refusal was the result of the town manager's delay in giving her information she had requested dealing with the water and sewer enterprise funds.

King has since given Esty most of the information she asked for in June, and he went through a half-hour presentation about the funds during last week's meeting.

Because the vote was taken in executive session and minutes from the meeting have not been approved, it is unclear whether Esty supported the extension.

In other news, selectmen meetings could soon be broadcast live across the World Wide Web on www.framinghamma.org if a test last night -- broadcast inside the Memorial Building on an intranet -- was successful.

Streaming audio would be sent to the town Web site during the meetings.

"We'll be famous the world over," said Chairman Charles Sisitsky with a laugh.

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