The mayor of East Hartford hasn’t had a raise in nearly five years. So a few weeks ago, the town council voted to boost the pay for the top job from $81,400 to a little over $87,000 – a jump intended to partly account for inflation since the salary was last adjusted in 2008.
Town officials justified the bump-up in pay by saying the cost of living had gone up 13.89 percent since the mayor’s last raise – a figure that seemed awfully high and prompted the nerd squad here at The Scoop to grab our holster-mounted calculators and dig into the numbers.
Bottom line No. 1: There’s a good reason the inflation rate sounded so high. While the pay was last increased in 2008, that raise merely caught the mayor up to the cost of living through 2005. So the action last month was intended to soften the effect of inflation for the years 2006 through 2012, and the town was calculating seven years’ worth of inflation, not five.
Bottom Line No. 2 – and the far more interesting bottom line: For the 2006-2012 time frame, according to The Scoop’s analysis, a miscalculation had the town using too low a figure for inflation, shortchanging the mayor by a cool grand and then some.
Here’s how the numbers break out. Warning: math ahead.