The City Council and School Committee – after long debate and measured opposition within their own ranks – have decided to grant themselves notable pay increases for the coming year.
Recently, the City Council voted 9-2 to increase councillor pay from $8,000 per year to $14,000 per year – an increase of $6,000 a year that will kick in Jan. 1, 2014.
All councillors voted for the increase except Councillors Brian Hatleberg and Christopher Cataldo.
Hatleberg has long been against the increase, saying he would rather put the money to what he believes would be more productive uses.
“I think it’s the wrong move for a broad variety of reasons,” he told the Record. “I think there are better places for the City to spend its money. The last place I want to spend money is on us. For a number of reasons, I think it’s not the right move and doesn’t make sense. I expressed that at Council and wasn’t able to convince enough of my colleagues.”
City councillors would still not qualify for health insurance benefits – which some councillors in other cities do collect.
For the School Committee, in a vote of 6-3, that body approved a $2,000 pay increase. That sent members’ pay from $5,000 a year to $7,000 a year. Several members of the Committee were looking for a $4,000 increase, to put them at $9,000 per year. That was the motion from Member Carlos Rodriguez, though it was amended by Member Rosemarie Carlisle to reflect the $2,000 increase.
Board Chair Edward Ells and Members Lisa Lineweaver and Angel Meza voted against any increase.
Ells said that the measure needed a 2/3 vote of the Board to pass, and with six votes, it just passed muster. That increase will also go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014
There has not been a pay raise for the Council or the School Committee since 2000.
Last year, a prolonged salary study committee met and made several recommendations. One of those recommendations was that the Council receive $14,000 per year, and the Committee receive $8,000 per year. Despite those long discussions and some recommendations, no official proposal was ever submitted to the Council or the Committee for a vote. So, last December, the matter died.
This spring, it was brought back to the table and passed both bodies this month.
During last year’s study, it was revealed that Chelsea’s councillors were paid far less than those in surrounding cities.
The average salary for a Revere city councillor is $15,748, with those councillors also eligible for $5,760 in reimbursements for expenses and eligible for City health insurance. Like Chelsea councillors, Everett councillors in 2014 will not be eligible for reimbursements or health insurance. However, Everett’s Council will be paid $15,000. Malden’s councillors earn $17,500 with health insurance benefits, while Somerville’s Council earns $25,000, with health insurance benefits and $3,100 in reimbursements.
All of those examples, however, come from cities that do not have a City Manager form of government, but rather an elected mayor.