Manchester, town workers meet to discuss morale problems NORTH--Manchester * Hampstead * Lineboro

June 25, 1993|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Staff Writer

Manchester's town employees complained about low morale yesterday and asked how spirits could be raised at a Town Hall session billed as the first semiannual meeting between workers and the Town Council.

Council members Charlotte Collett, Douglas Myers and Kathryn Riley attended the meeting, along with Town Manager Terry Short and about 13 employees.

Mr. Myers asked the town employees, "Why is morale down? Is morale down?"

Several employees said yes, but the reasons they offered varied.

Mr. Short said the town's water and sewer employees, in particular, are overworked.

He said a recent round of pay raises "isn't the end of the saga," and that he expects the town to adopt a new pay scale during fiscal 1994.

Steven Miller, superintendent of water and wastewater, said employees used to be a tightknit group, but were not any longer.

One reason, he said, was that news reporters attend more town meetings, including yesterday's session.

Mr. Miller said that he received anonymous, abusive phone calls after his salary and recent pay raise were published in local newspapers.

"You talk about morale," he said. "That really lowers morale."

Police Chief Donald M. Myers said a well-defined chain of command is important. He said the police department has a clear chain of command that ensures people aren't bypassed 0and undermined by their superiors.

One potential morale-booster -- an employee bonus program -- was axed during the recent town budget process, Mr. Short said.

Mr. Short said a new council manpower committee, headed by Councilman Robert Kolodziejski, will work on the morale problem and other personnel issues.

In response to a complaint from a male employee whose wife is expecting a baby, Mr. Short said the Town Council will consider a new family leave policy at its next meeting July 13.

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