By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.
In a remarkably short, and uncontroversial vote at the end of its meeting Monday night, the Everett City Council voted 10-1 to approve a salary increase for the position of Mayor. Effective in January 2018, the mayoral base salary will now be $160,000 per year, up from its current level of $138,000 per year and the salary will rise again in January 2020 to $185,000.
The author of the ordinance, Councilor John Hanlon a former Mayor himself, noted that when he was mayor the salary of the Mayor was $85,000 per year and department heads made on average $50,000 to $60,000 per year.
“Since then, salaries for department heads have doubled, but the Mayor’s salary did not,” said Hanlon, who then pointed to the need for today’s mayor to manage a larger, more complicated organization than the one he had to oversee and noted that the mayor now has to be more technically aware of changes in the law and changes in other facets of the operation that have evolved.
According to Hanlon, the top 10 highest paid department heads now make nearly what the Mayor makes and without a change to the mayoral salary, all of those department heads would pass the Mayor’s salary in the next few years.
Joining Hanlon in calling for the Council to increase the Mayor’s salary, Councilor Michael McLaughlikn noted that voting to raise the salary is not “taking care of a friend, but voting to leave the office of the Mayor in a better position than it was when we got elected.”
The lone dissenting vote on the Council, Councilor Fred Capone, noted “what we have to keep in mind is that part of being an elected officer is to be a public servant,” and said that it is not fair to expect municipal managers to get paid like top CEOs in the private sector.
“We’re spending the taxpayer’s money and we have to be mindful of that,” said Capone.
Councilor Capone also noted that the Council voted to increase the Mayor’s salary to its current level just last year, in May 2016, and subsequently voted to also allow the current Mayor to receive an annual longevity payment of $10,000 per year and had also provided the Mayor with a one-time lump sum payment for past longevity as well.