Scott Pickup

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BELLOWS FALLS — Municipal Manager Scott Pickup received a $5,000 retention bonus from the Bellows Falls village trustees Tuesday night.

On a unanimous vote, after coming out of a closed-door session, the five trustees agreed to give their manager the one-time bonus, in addition to a previously agreed upon three-year contract with a $10,000 annual raise shared with the town.

Pickup will be making $98,400 with the raise, which is an 11.3 percent increase. Pickup has been praised for his work as the municipal manager, a position which in the past has seen a lot of turnover.

Village President Deborah Wright said Wednesday after the meeting that the retention bonus is designed to make up for benefits Pickup lost unexpectedly when he moved to the Rockingham-Bellows Falls position.

She declined further explanation, saying the matter was discussed in executive session and is confidential.

“We agreed to a one-time retention bonus,” she said, and noted the problem is “something (Pickup) did not anticipate” in making the move to the Vermont job.

“I think for the most part he’s doing a good job,” said Wright, who said her only real concern is the Bellows Falls Police Department, as it remains a concern with her and village residents.

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She said concerned residents have called her, and she could only relay those concerns to Pickup, who supervises Police Chief David Bemis and the rest of the department. The Bellows Falls department, like all others across the state, is plagued with under-staffing.

She said her concerns about the department focus on continued under-staffing, and slow response times to calls for help.

Wright said she received a complaint from a resident on Green Street, who said it took 40 minutes for an officer to arrive at their home. Green Street is within walking distance of the police department, she pointed out.

She said the trustees earlier in the year agreed to the three-year contract and the annual raise. Pickup’s contract expired at the end of June.

Wright said the trustees are very pleased with Pickup’s work as manager, and his work in resolving the financial problems facing the village and town after the departure of financial manager Shannon Burbela. The Rockingham board members were very complimentary of the job Pickup has done.

Pickup last week received confirmation of the new three-year contract from the Rockingham Select Board, along with the $10,000 annual wage increase, which will be split between the town and village. The Rockingham board also gave him a $5,000 retention bonus.

Pickup, 59, has worked for the town and village since October 2020, coming to Vermont from a New York City suburb.