Council Addresses Longevity Pay Issue for Office of Mayor

The question of whether Mayor Carlo DeMaria or any future mayor of the City of Everett should receive longevity pay, as many other city employees have and continue to do, dominated the City Council meeting on Monday night.

Every councilor spoke on the matter before an audience of about seven residents who attended the meeting.  In the end, there was no immediate resolution to the issue, although there was a consensus that the wording in the ordinance is faulty and needs to be addressed.

The nexus of the issue that confronted the councilors goes back to 2016. The ordinance that was adopted was written as follows: “Any individual serving in the office of Mayor shall receive a longevity payment of $10,000 for each completed full term as Mayor, as defined in Article 3, Section 1(b) of the City Charter.

“Any individual serving as Mayor at the time of passage of the ordinance codified in this section shall receive a one-time payment of $10,000 for each previously completed term as Mayor, as defined in Section 25 of the previous Charter. (C0421-16)”

“I have never made anything political,” said Ward 1 Councilor Fred Capone who introduced the motion.  “This is my obligation as a city councillor to address residents’ concerns.”

Ward 6 Councillor Michael McLaughlin said, ”This will have a lasting effect.” McLaughlin said he agreed that the matter needs to be addressed, but felt that it should be taken up by the new City Council in 2022.

“The election is over. Let’s take politics out of this,” said Ward 3 Councillor Anthony DiPierro. “The mayor is entering his sixth term and he is the longest-serving mayor in Everett history.  Let’s amend the language.”

Councilor Rosa DiFlorio echoed her colleagues, saying, “This should be left up to the new board.  There is a lot of hate in this city and I would not take the position for $1 million dollars.”

“I am not comfortable with repeal,” Ward 2 Councilor Stephanie Martins said, “I am in favor of amending the language.  There should be no cloudiness.”

“This is outrageous,” said Councillor-at-Large Michael Marchese. “This ordinance should be repealed.”

Councilor John Hanlon pointed out that former mayors, such as David Ragucci and John McCarthy, who served in the 1990s, received a salary of $85,000 per year.

“Longevity is causing the problem. We should hire an outside law firm to review the ordinance,” Hanlon said.

Councilor Jimmy Tri Le asked that both City Solicitor Coleen Mejia and Chief Financial Officer Eric Demaris appear before the council and asked Mejia to read the ordinance.

Le then asked if any laws were being broken and was he (DeMaria) entitled to the pay. Mejia noted that DeMaria has completed four terms and is entitled to the pay according to the formula as it appears in the ordinance.

In the end, Le shook his head at the longevity amount of $40,000.

“This has to be resolved,” Councilor Richard Dell Isola said. “I agree with Councilor Capone, and we should look at it again.”

Council President Wayne Matewsky agreed. “This is confusing and has to be fixed,” he said.

In the vote that followed, a motion to revert the matter back to sponsor failed on a 5-5 vote.  The motion to repeal the ordinance failed, 6-4, and the motion to reconsider also failed 6-4.

The councilors also looked at another motion by Capone to have DeMaria reimburse the taxpayers and the City of Everett $180,000 for an alleged erroneous interpretation of the longevity bonus. The councilors voted to send this order to the mayor’s office for his response and further action unanimously was postponed until the next meeting to await the mayor’s response.

Presently, the base pay without longevity bonuses for the Office of Mayor is $191,000.

In other action, councilors approved the following appointments:

C0393-21 Appointment/s/Councilor Wayne A. Matewsky, As President:  That the Everett City Council hereby approves the appointment of Sioux Gerow to the Cultural Council for a term of three years, expiring December 13, 2024;

C0409-21 Appointment/s/Councilor Wayne A. Matewsky, As President: That the Everett City Council hereby approves the appointment of Rejane DeMusis to the Cultural Council for a term of three years, expiring December 13, 2024;

C0410-21 Appointment/s/Councilor Wayne A. Matewsky, As President: That the Everett City Council hereby approves the appointment of Karen McCune-Barca to the Cultural Council for a term of three years, expiring December 13, 2024

C0416-21 Appointment/s/Councilor Wayne A. Matewsky, As President: That the Everett City Council hereby approves the appointment of Oscar O. Cortes to the Food Policy Council for a term of three years, expiring December 13, 2024;

C0417-21 Appointment/s/Councilor Wayne A. Matewsky, As President: That the Everett City Council hereby approves the appointment of Lenka McNally to the Food Policy Council for a term of three years, expiring December 13, 2024;

C0418-21 Appointment/s/Councilor Wayne A. Matewsky, As President: That the Everett City Council hereby approves the appointment of Clinton Ngamme to the Food Policy Council for a term of three years, expiring December 13, 2024; and

C0419-21 Appointment/s/Councilor Wayne A. Matewsky, As President: That the Everett City Council hereby approves the appointment of Kristina Nies to the Food Policy Council for a term of three years, expiring December 13, 2024.

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