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Derry Town Clerk reduces her salary to hire staff member

DERRY - As the municipal budget has tightened over the years, Town Clerk Denise Neale has been unable to hire an additional employee to help staff her office and provide constant coverage throughout the day.

This year, Neale voluntarily lowered her salary to make room for a part-time, temporary position in the department.

"Since 2009, the Town Council has not allowed us to have a new position," said Neale. "The directive has been to have no new employees. I thought that if I gave up some of my income, I could get a part-time person. It's as simple as that."

The Town Council approved the Town Clerk's proposed budget of $128,631 for fiscal year 2014, an increase of about $10,000 over the current fiscal year budget.

Neale budgeted $12,480 for the new part-time position, and reduced the line item for her salary by just over $5,000.

"I think this is a fairly equitable arrangement," said town councilor Neil Wetherbee. "I know you've been strapped for some time, and I know there have been some customer service issues."

Wetherbee and Neale noted there can sometimes be issues of having the clerk's office window staffed during lunch hours.

"I understand both sides of the issue," said Wetherbee, noting that people might come in to register their dog during a lunch break and then wonder what to do if the office was closed.

"I also understand your side where there are only two people," he said.

Neale said the part-time person would work about 15-20 hours per week, most likely during the office's busiest stretch of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"This will allow me to continue to do all the other duties I'm required to do during work time,"said Neale.

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