First Responders Highest Paid in Ashby
ASHBY -- Of the 144 people who received payment from the town last calendar year, 14 workers earned over $50,000, and as is true for surrounding communities, several of the town’s top earners are first responders.
Police Sgt. Derek Pepple was the top-paid municipal employee in 2017, having earned over $118,000 last year, according to town payroll records.
Pepple had a base salary of just over $67,000, but his earning were boosted by overtime payment of over $48,000 and “additional payments” amounting to nearly $3,000.
Patrolman Brian Vautour earned just over $99,000, according to payroll records. About $40,000 of his 2017 earnings come from overtime and additional payments.
Chief of Police Fred Alden IV took the number three spot, earning about $92,000 last year, records show.
Former Patrolman Shawn McCluskey earned about $72,400 last year, according to municipal records. McCluskey’s employment with the department ended on April 17, Town Manager Robert Hanson confirmed on Wednesday.
The Board of Selectmen met with McCluskey and his attorney in executive session on April 17 to discuss the then-officer’s “discipline or dismissal.”
Asked why McCluskey no longer works for the department, Hanson replied, “no comment.” McCluskey told a reporter after the April 17 meeting that he signed a nondisclosure agreement that limits what he can say.
Police Chief Alden also declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding the end of McCluskey’s 11-year tenure with Ashby Police Department, referring all comment on the matter back to Hanson.
Acting Highway Superintendent Steven Beauregard earned $68,040, and Selectmen Assistant Jennifer Collins earned $66,485, according to payroll records.
Senior Police Patrolman John Dillon took home just over $61,000, as did his colleagues in the seven-member department, Patrolmen Corin Campbell and Erik Salo, records show.
According to the municipal records, 37 of the 144 people who received payment from the town in 2017 were compensated for “extra police detail,” compared to just one person in 2016.
Alden said detail assignments are often given to officers from surrounding communities.
He said the high number of detail officers in 2017 was due to the tree cutting done townwide last year, something he said happens every five years.
Many of those detail officers, according to Alden, were also hired to work the town’s 250 Anniversary celebration, which required road closures for a parade.
Businesses reimburse the town for the detail assignments they request, according to Hanson.
A couple of part-time employees were among those cracked the top 20 earners. Town Administrator Hanson, who earned nearly $40,000 last year, said he came out of retirement to serve in the role, therefore under state law he is barred from working more than 960 hours each year. His office is open 18 hours each week.
Tax Collector Beth Ann Scheid earned just over $42,000 last year, according to municipal payroll records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. Her office is open 16.5 hours a week.