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Controversy swirls over appointments at Cicero board meeting

— “Are we going to pay every committee chair?” he asked. “I am against it.”

Corl said the town does not currently employ anyone who can complete the work that Kirk is doing.

Ultimately, the board decided not to vote on the issue at Wednesday’s meeting. They will review Kirk’s resume and qualifications and discuss it again at the March 28 meeting.

The board again faced controversy, this time from members of the audience, when they announced the approval of a contract with the town of Salina for shared services for assessor Brad Brennan. The pronouncement came after a 50-minute executive session in which the board and town attorney Robert Germain discussed the contract of a particular employee — presumably Brennan.

As approved by the town of Cicero, the two-year contract, which still requires approval from Salina’s board, calls for a salary of $46,630 to be paid by the town of Cicero with no raises for the next two years. Cicero will also pay half of Brennan’s benefits of about $18,000. Corl said it would cost the town about $100,000 to pay a full-time assessor a salary and benefits.

Some residents were less than thrilled with the announcement.

“One of the comments I got from many residents when I was out campaigning was that they didn’t like the way they were treated with regards to Brad,” said Joe Ruscitto, a Democrat who ran for town board in November and lost. “You never gave anyone else a chance. You never looked for anyone else.”

“So we feel confident that, in 17 hours a week, this entire town can be assessed in three or four years?” asked Kristen Foland. “I am skeptical. I can’t believe that saving $30,000 for a part-time employee is the right decision. This is not against Mr. Brennan, but I think it was a bad decision, and I think we really need to think about our future.”

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