In the old days, many local residents served on various city boards with no compensation.
However, times and policies were much simpler back then and the amount of time that a person was required to devote to these boards was very insignificant.
Today, this is not the case.
As our society has become more complex, so too have the duties of all our elected and appointed officials.
On Monday night, the City Council approved increasing the salary of the School Committee members to $11,500 starting in January 2014. Next Monday the Board of Aldermen will vote on this request.
We urge the Board of Aldermen to approve this measure.
We know that an issue like a pay raise would be easy fodder for some elected officials to grandstand and play to the cameras. This pay raise should not fall in the grandstanding case.
One of the significant choices for any families settling into a community is the local school system. Today, Everett has a public school system that is the envy of many in the surrounding communities.
The role of a School Committee person has changed. Overseeing a budget of more than $60 million and an exploding school population, we need experienced members who are responsible to taxpayers.
This school system just does not happen, but is the hard work of Superintendent Fred Foresteire and his team as well as the elected School Board. Members of the School Board not only spend many hours preparing for the meetings, but also personally attend the many school events.
Even with the new pay raise, we would venture to say that if one added the amount of hours that is required of the School Committee members in performing their duties, the salary increase still would be below minimum wage.
As Everett moves forward to a new form of government in 2014, we urge the members of Board of Aldermen not to look back at how this salary increase would have been decided by old time politics, but decide it on merit and approve the increase.