The Chelsea City Council voted to accept City Manager Jay Ash’s new contract by a unanimous vote following brief remarks made by a number of councilors, all of whom praised Ash and said they were pleased he will be staying on.
Ash signed the contract last week, which provides for his salary to rise to almost $170,000, which is in the ball park for many city managers of similarly sized municipalities.
In addition, the contract provides that Ash can remain in his position for the next four years.
“I was deeply moved and humbled by what I heard from the city councilors Monday night. We have always worked well together and will continue to do so,” said Ash, who attended the council meeting.
Councillor Leo Robinson, who negotiated the contract on behalf of the council said he was happy and relieved that the council acted as it did.
“The council moved quickly. We all understood what exactly was at stake. The unanimous vote reveals that this council is strong and united. Everyone in this city was benefited by this vote. Jay Ash does a great job and this is our unanimous belief. Now we move on to the future.
Ash said he is in the process of reinventing himself. In other words, he said he was reinvigorating himself for the challenges of the next few years.
“I look forward o the ribbon cutting for the new Marriott Hotel. I look forward to the ribbon cutting for the new FBI headquarters. And I look forward to bringing to fruition as well as to closing on a number of major developments either on the books or now underway,” he said.
City Council President Marilyn-Vega Torres said last week that she wanted Ash to stay, that she believed her colleagues were all on board and that the vote Monday would be a reflection of that.
She was right on all counts.
Ash had apparently been asked to head the MassDevelopment Agency, the state’s major investment and development arm.
That position, according to other mayors familiar with it, is the equivalent of a gold standard state position.
Ash, it is believed, had been interviewed a number of times for the position and that he was the choice of Governor Deval Patrick.
It is also believed that when the governor visited Chelsea ten days ago before heading off on his business tour to Israel and England, he met with Ash and asked him if he would be coming on board with his administration.
Ash was unable to give the governor an affirmative on the question during a luncheon meeting held at the Wyndham, according to one of those who attended.
Ash’s flirtation with leaving the city manager’s post he has held for almost a decade caught many local leaders by surprise.
Ash told the Chelsea Record more than two weeks ago that this effort to apply for another position was something he had not done since becoming the city manager.
However, he revealed as well that he had turned away at least four other job offers during the past few years.
“In the last analysis,” Ash told the Chelsea Record, “ this is where I want to be and where I am happiest and where the future looks brighter than I can recall since taking the job.”