SUMMERVILLE — The ticklish task of reworking salaries and pay will be taken on by the town after a three-hour session behind closed doors last weekend.

Mayor Bill Collins characterized the session as "a very, very lengthy discussion of compensation in the town," and said he and Town Council plan to come up with pay guidelines for employees. High salaries for the top level positions is one of the things that will be looked at, he said, but fairly restructuring salaries for longtime employees isn't easily done.

Collins made a point while campaigning in 2011 that town administrator and two other staff positions — planning director and assistant administrator — cost more than $300,000 per year in salaries. That was more money than the town needed to spend to get those jobs done, he said then.

The former administrator resigned before Collins' election, and shortly after the election council gave Collins temporary authority to act as administrator. He still does, paid his far-lower mayor salary. It amounts to a trial period for changing to a "strong mayor" form of government. Collins seeks the change to give the town more muscle competing for state and federal funds. It would end three decades of Summerville being run by administrators.