Council Holds Off On Pay Hikes

The City Council was set to consider four pay hikes on Monday night, following a recommendation of the Ways and Means Committee and separate analyses of pay rates in neighboring communities.

However, a variety of different technical issues with the agenda items addressing each of the pay led to no votes being taken on the four measures, despite the fact that raises for the School Committee, City Council, City Clerk and Mayor have all met with some measure of approval by the Ways and Means committee.

Two planned votes to increase the pay for School Committee members and City Councilors have been temporarily put off, so that the measures can be properly introduced to the Council.

According to the sponsor of the item, Councilor Rosa DiFlorio, the measures were included on the agenda as “Orders,” however since the pay rates of the School Committee and City Council are set in the city’s ordinances, they were supposed to be included as ordinances for a vote.

As a result, the Council referred both measures back to DiFlorio, so that they can be properly introduced at the next Council meeting in two weeks, March 9, and voted on.

The measures call for the School Committee pay to be raised to $11,500 per member and for City Council pay to increase to $19,000 per member.

The measure will not have to go back to the Ways and Means Committee to be voted on. If the Council approves the new article at its next meeting, the pay raises will take effect with the start of the next legislative session, following the next city election. In other words the raises would not go into effect until January 1, 2016, at the earliest.

A pay increase for the City Clerk, to $86,139, was referred to the Council’s budgetary committee, for inclusion in the FY 2016 budget. Since the pay rates for all employees of the council are set through the budget process, there was no need for a formal vote of the full council prior to the budget process.

If approved in the budget process, the Clerk’s pay raise would take effect with the start of the new fiscal year on July 1, 2015.

Lastly, a proposed and much discussed pay raise for Mayor Carlo DeMaria, to take effect on January 1, 2016, was tabled until the next meeting, so that Councilor DiFlorio could get some additional information to the Council about the indexing mechanism in the Mayoral raise proposal.

The proposal currently calls for the Mayor’s salary to increase to $126,252 on January 1, 2016 and to be annually adjusted based on the average of the three most recent years’ Consumer Price Index.

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