"We can always go forward and increase the salary," said Merrihew, "but historically, I have never seen in minutes, where we have decreased the salary of a department head."
Willsboro supervisor Lori Lincoln-Spooner said the $80,000 would be more than appropriate, given that it is still a hefty raise from LaVigne's current salary of $70,990.
County Manager Dan Palmer said that the $85,640 salary was technically a reduction because it did not include the 4.25 percent raise Buck would have received going into 2010.
Buck said that the county would also save money because the salary of the incoming deputy would be considerably less than LaVigne's current salary. LaVigne has suggested lowering the salary of that position to around $50,000.
Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said decreasing the salary would not be necessary, especially given LaVigne's experience in the position. He also argued that LaVigne's salary would be one of many scrutinized as part of an upcoming review of department head salaries.
"You have to take the personalities out of it and look at the degree of responsibility for the positions, the size of the staff, the size of the budgets that they are overseeing and so on," said Scozzafava. "DPW is one of the largest departments in Essex County with a tremendous amount of responsibility that our constituents depend on daily to see that that department runs effectively."
The amendment to reduce LaVigne's salary ultimately failed as only Merrihew, Blades, Lincoln-Spooner, and Essex Supervisor Ron Jackson voted in favor of it.
The board then passed the resolution officially appointing LaVigne, with only Lincoln-Spooner voting against it.