The easy part was getting an additional emergency appropriation approved to pay for the cleanup related to winter storm Alfred.
The hard part was explaining that some of it was going to the former mayor.
The Town Council on Tuesday approved another $562,000 to cover costs associated with Alfred. It was the third appropriation for the storm.
On November 15, 2011, the council approved $2.834 million in emergency appropriations in addition to the initial $420,000 that was approved on Nov. 3.
Tuesday's approval brings the total storm appropriations to $3.816 million.
According to the town Charter, no emergency appropriations are to exceed 5 percent of the current budget. Because of that, a public hearing took place at the council meeting to approve a resolution for the additional money.
No member of the public seemed to care and the council itself seemed more concerned about the what is earmarked for overtime wages during the cleanup efforts.
More specifically, council Democrats took umbrage at former Republican Mayor Jason McCoy getting about $3,600 for working during the storm and its aftermath. The line item for administrative overtime was $4,610.
Democratic council member Thomas DiDio wondered if the town Charter contained a provision for paying the mayor overtime.
Finance Officer james Luddecke said the Internal Revenue Service now requires any administrative stipend for emergency work beyond the normal scope of the job has to be accounted in overtime wages.
He said a figure of $25 per hour was calculated.
Democratic council member Michael Winkler said managers must take the long weeks with the short weeks and not be paid beyond their salaries.
Democratic council member Marie Herbst said she never took any extra money when she was mayor and Hurricane Gloria came through town.
During the public hearing, Pauline Schaefer, who was a democratic council member during McCoy's two terms, called the overtime compensation "an absolute disgrace," and said she never asked for compensation when she was answering phones at the Emergency Operations Center for 10 hours a day.
Republican council member Brian Motola lashed out at Schaefer and told her that if something inappropriate slipped by the council, then the entire council is to blame.
McCoy did not attend the meeting, but said in a text message that he worked about 18 hours a day for a dozen days straight. He said he lost more than $25 an hour by not spending time at his law practice.
In a subsequent phone call, he said no one slipped up. He said there is not only a legal opinion supporting the compensation but the Federal Emergency Management Agency requested that all work during the storm be documented and that the overtime wages were eligible for reimbursement along with a majority of the storm costs.
The attached PDF file contains a spread sheet on storm costs.