Councilors table post-FTM raise request for Lincoln prosecutor

Councilors table post-FTM raise request for Lincoln prosecutor

LINCOLN - Regardless of their feelings on its merit, a 25 percent raise for the town's police prosecutor so soon after May's Financial Town Meeting will not happen this summer, Town Councilors decided on Aug. 19, tabling the issue at the Ordinance Committee meeting.

Stephen Archambault, who currently earns $20,000 per year for prosecuting crimes in municipal court, had come to the council in July to request a $5,000 pay increase, which could have been covered by other line items in the Town Solicitor's budget.

He has worked for Lincoln for seven years, but has not had a raise in the past three, he said. Prior to that, he made a jump from a $10,000 to $12,000 salary to the current $20,000.

Archambault, an attorney and state senator for District 22 of Smithfield, North Providence and Johnston, said the workload has increased from less than 10 cases a week to more than 20 because of incidents at Twin River Casino.

Councilors expressed their regret that the increases had not been made incrementally each year, but said the request would be better served if it went through the annual process with the Budget Board and voter approval.

"My opinion is that although I think perhaps the police prosecutor should be entitled to an increase in salary, I would be hesitant to do so soon after just coming out of the budget process," said Councilor Arthur Russo. "Perhaps this is not the right move for the council to make."

Councilor Kenneth Pichette called it a "harsh mid-budget jump" and said he wished Archambault had stepped forward sooner.

Councilor James Jahnz agreed with Russo that the next budget cycle would be a more appropriate venue. He said the salary should be remedied if it is found that Lincoln is not in line with other communities.

Since Archambault's appearance before the council, Town Solicitor Anthony DeSisto had been researching what other municipalities pay. It was more complicated than just cut-and-dry salaries, he reported, with each city and town having "some special considerations," but not all having separate line items for the salaries.

The following figures he reported are "almost all anecdotal," he said.

Cumberland pays $18,000 for a town of 33,000. Woonsocket pays $18,000, and West Warwick pays $15,000.

South Kingstown pays $32,000 for a town of more than 30,000 people, DeSisto said, but they deal with students from University of Rhode Island nine months out of the year.

Bristol, with a population of almost 23,000, pays $15,000, and has Colt State Park and Roger Williams University students.

Newport pays its prosecutor $25,000 to cover the town of almost 25,000. They deal with incidents from Salve Regina University students and tourists.

Barrington pays $12,000 per year, the lowest of salaries he was able to find. On the other hand, Richmond, with a population of less than 8,000, pays $28,000 a year, DeSisto said.