The Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority, also known as CRRA, announced plans this week to freeze worker salaries. The agency handles waste for more than 50 towns. CRRA says the salary freeze would save the agency $1.5 million and help close a projected budget gap of $12.6 million for the next five years.
The shortfall caught the attention of lawmakers who are questioning the agency's long-term viability. Last month, a state-sponsored audit reported that more than one-third of the company's positions have an annual salary greater than $100,000.
"When people look at our salaries in a vacuum, what they're not understanding is that the vast majority of our positions require four year degrees or more. And they require specific experience and training in a very unique industry," said Paul Nonnenmacher, CRRA's director of public affairs. "That is naturally going to have an impact on compensation."
CRRA processes 712,000 tons of trash per year at its Hartford facility, burning most of it and selling that energy back to the electrical grid. But as electrical rates have declined, the company's budget gap has widened.
Nonnemacher says the salary freeze would likely go into effect next year, and that CRRA isn't ruling out cutting salaries or reducing staffing levels in the future. The agency currently employs 43 workers.