A cut in salary worries Colonie Historian

When the Colonie Town Board voted 6-1 to pass the budget on Nov. 5, Republican Councilman Dan Dustin was the one dissenting vote, and spoke out in defense of the Franklin and question whether the cut was fair.

As the liaison for the town historian, Dustin said he was astonished by the work done by Franklin, and said he certainly should be making more than his current salary.

"Frankly, he does more work than his salary suggested," he said. "I'm impressed by the amount of work he does."

The New York State Arts and Cultural Affairs Law Sec. 57.13 and 57.15 require a local historian be appointed and make an annual report. According a Local Government Historian Survey compiled in 2007 by the Association of Public Historians of New York State (APHNYS), 64 percent of the historians are paid for their work and 49 percent have an office in a municipal building. An average annual budget for most town historians, which according APHNYS is made up of mostly their salary, equals to $11,042, comparable to what Franklin will be making in 2011.

Compared to other local historians in the Capital Region, Franklin makes more than others, but most are not full-time

Susan Leath, Bethlehem's historian, is a part-time historian with the town who makes $2,600 annually. She calls the job "a labor of love" and that she tends to work around five to ten hours a week. Even though they are part time hours, she does wish she should have a higher salary.

"I think I should be paid much more, but that's the reality and I'm all right with that," she said. "It's [the money] nice, but I'm really doing it for the love of the history and the love of the town."

She enjoys her situation, though, because she is able to be a stay at home mother and said that her position as the town historian is really what she makes of it. Some of her work included assisting the historical society, which she refers to as volunteer work, and goes in to schools and talks to students about the town's role in the American Revolution and the history of ice harvesting.

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