Selectmen to vote on Town Administrator’s 3-yr contract and salary tonight

by beth on September 17, 2018

Tonight, the Board of Selectmen is set to vote on the new three year contract for Town Administrator Mark Purple.

In a meeting at the Senior Center tonight, the board will vote on a negotiated agreement that would bring Purple’s compensation to a combined $185,677 by fall 2020.*

For salary, the TA is set to receive two 4% raises and one 3% raise, plus an annual payment to a deferred compensation plan based on 6% of his salary.

The draft agreement was in the initial agenda packet for the meeting posted on Thursday morning. But those of you looking at the revised packet that was posted that afternoon may have missed it.** (You can now view the draft document by itself here.)

Here are some additional highlights:

  • If the Town terminates the contract before the contract is up in October 2021, Purple would be entitled to a 10 month salary package. (That doesn’t apply if he is terminated for committing a felony or “conduct unbecoming a managerial employee or incompetence”.) 
  • If the Town opts not to renew the contract in 2021, officials must give six months notice. In turn, he must provide 2 months notice if he leaves, which can’t include vacation time.
  • If the Town adopts a Town Manager position, the board must consider Purple for the job prior to “consideration of other applicants to the extent allowed under State Law and Town by-law.”

As I posted in the schedule earlier today, the Planning Board will be using the Hearing Room at the Town House tonight. That means the Board of Selectmen are relegated to Cordaville Hall (aka the Senior Center).

By nature of the setup, Planning is the board that will be broadcast and streamed live. Southborough Access Media does plan to record the BOS meeting for delayed broadcast.

*That is combining his salary with the deferred compensation payment for the year.

**A revised package with the updated agenda includes 32 pages of materials – but they were only related to underlined new items on the agenda – minutes from several meetings earlier this spring and summer.

1 Alan September 17, 2018 at 4:09 PM

That’s some salary!

2 Mike Fuce September 17, 2018 at 7:01 PM

Does anybody know why the salary is so high? I mean this is not a physicist or a molecular biologist. I mean it sounds like a major league baseball contract of one of the top 100 players. Nothing against Mark I’m sure he does a fine job but that’s excessive

3 djd66 September 18, 2018 at 3:39 PM

$186,000 is excessive? Really? I equate the town administrator to the to the COO of a company. Southborough is a $60,000,000 business. $186,000 is very cheap for that job. Certainly not even close what MLB players are getting.

4 n September 19, 2018 at 10:17 AM

Seems to me that it’s much closer to a $20 million business if that is the way you want to look at it.

Total town expenses in the ATM budget book are $19,671,487 for FY 19 (page 8 of the FY 19 budget book on the town website).

Total schools make up $35,373,784 of the FY 19 budget.

5 Alan September 19, 2018 at 4:37 PM

But its not a business. It is tax payer funded government job. If someone wants a 60,000,000 COO business salary then they should get that job.

6 arborist September 17, 2018 at 7:13 PM

no wonder my tax bill is so high, guess I chose the wrong job!! not right to us taxpayers

7 Joe September 17, 2018 at 10:14 PM

Actually that is pretty cheap for a Town Administrator

8 Matt September 18, 2018 at 3:00 PM

Article from 2017 concerning town admin salaries (specifically calls out Sboro, Nboro and Westboro)…

What I could find quickly…

Northborough: John Coderre, town administrator, $164,854.33
Westborough: James Malloy, town administrator, $156,017.00
Holliston: $120,000 (2015)
Ashland: $165,000 (2015)

9 beth September 19, 2018 at 8:26 AM

Worth noting that those are presumably base salaries. The salary approved for this year will start at $163,524 and reach $175,167 by the 3rd year. The other figure I noted above was combined with the deferred compensation payments of 6% of base per year. The staff mentioned above may have similar plans.

10 Matt September 19, 2018 at 9:00 AM

Yes… most the sources I read stated base salary and has built in raises as well as bonuses and incentives. I was curious about salaries for the position as well and it seems completely in line with other surrounding towns.

11 resident September 20, 2018 at 10:28 AM

I believe some of these towns have Town Managers not Town Administrators. There is a big difference with much more responsibility. It is funny that all the employees in the town get a flat 2% increase which doesn’t even cover the cost of the increase in insurance but he gets 4% and bonuses and money into a retirement plan. Too bad he is against the most important unions like the Police and Fire when they need something. I definitely think his salary is too much, especially since we are footing the bill!

12 Concerned Voter September 19, 2018 at 3:35 PM

Utterly ridiculous salaries at the taxpayer’s expense. NOT WORTH IT.



Westborough’s budget for this year is $156,000 for that position. HOW ON EARTH DID THIS GET TO $186,000? Are you kidding??

Absolutely, re-bid this. This town is not comparable to any inner suburb or bigger municipality. No comparison. It shouldn’t even come close to $156k as one would expect more going on in Westborough.

That said, also, am concerned about the way this T.A. has gone about the job. Not happy with the performance. Seems to assist in going around the public, inappropriately. Don’t like the duck and cover under the category of “Town Administrator’s Report.” For important town business, those items should be clearly listed on any town Agenda.

He is or has been the subject of a lawsuit in the Town of Ashland. This needs explanation. The salary needs re-alignment with the market.

13 Concerned_Resident September 20, 2018 at 2:57 PM

Hi Southboroites,

A Town Administrator should be paid an equitable amount, in line with surrounding communities. Personally I don’t care to argue about an extra $10,000 or so, as long as the salary is commensurate with accomplishments. That said, I would hope that our TA does more than simply keep ‘our trains running on time’ (mixing up my metaphors?). What i would really like to see (from ALL leadership bodies or individuals in town) is an Annual State of the Town Report that assesses what tactical accomplishments have been made relative to a broad, bold Town Strategic Plan (5 yrs not 10 yr plan). We don’t seem to have any yard stick to measure progress or even a clear plan to gauge if we are going in the right direction. So salary discussion is irrelevant if you don’t know what you are paying for, or trying to retain. PUSH FOR TA ANNUAL REPORT and BOS 5 YR PLAN

14 Concerned_Resident September 20, 2018 at 3:15 PM


I do want to acknowledge the SB Town Annual Report which includes summaries of several Dept-level accomplishments for the previous year. It just seems to me that some of these items, while valuable, are perfunctory rather than in service to a larger more substantive goal…. like enhancing individual village identity, sense of community, emergency preparedness, and regional economic collaborations to lower cost/improve services we need and use. thanks

15 Publius September 21, 2018 at 4:03 PM

These positions pay in the 150K plus range. Considering the balancing act most have to do and the politics they have to put up with they earn every nickel. As other towns have found, if you don’t pay a fair salary, competent administrators and managers are recruited or apply to other towns,

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