Ash Signs New Contract; Council set to Accept it

City Manager Jay Ash, shown at his desk in city hall recently, has signed a four year contract negotiated by the council. Monday night, the city council will likely vote to accept it.

City Manager Jay Ash has made his decision. He will be remaining as the city manager for the next four years, assuming the city council Monday night agrees to accept the contract negotiated by Councillor Leo Robinson on behalf of the council.

That vote is expected to be a near unanimous one among the members of the council, according to Council President Mariyln Vega-Torres and Councillor Leo Robinson.

Vega-Torres said she believes most of her colleagues are in agreement and happy that Ash will remain.

“My feelings are that it will go through,” she said. “I have talked with many of my colleagues and I believe and expect they will vote to accept the contract,” she added.

She was careful to point out that she did not want to be put in the position of speaking for all her colleagues because she hadn’t yet spoken with all of them.

Vega-Torres, Robinson and Ash at a private meeting on Wednesday afternoon hashed out Ash’s new contract, which provides for a salary of $169,000 – substantially below the $200,000 figure bandied about last week – and keeps him here until 2015.

Robinson had been conducting discussions with Ash on behalf of the council concerning a new contract for the past few months. Ash had to give the city notice one way or the other by the end of this month.

Last week, Ash stunned the city by announcing that he had applied to MassDevelopment to lead that agency. Governor Deval Patrick was hoping Ash would take the job.

Ash has already informed MassDevelopment that he will be remaining in Chelsea.

“I’m happy for the city council and for the people of this city. I’m impressed and delighted we can keep him here. We won out,” Robinson said Wednesday afternoon.

Ash said Wednesday afternoon that he was ready to begin the next chapter as City Manager, that he was eager to get started with renewed spirit and ambition for greater accomplishments to be achieved.

“I’ve got so many friends and supporters here that when it came down to act I just couldn’t walk away from what remains to be finished,” Ash added.

Vega-Torres said her hopes were on her colleagues that they are happy Ash has decided to stay.

“I’m happy,” she said. “Pleased, really.”

“If Jay left and we had to go out and find someone to replace him it would have been impossible. He’s done a fabulous job. Anyone replacing him would have some very big shoes to fill,” she said.

At Monday night’s city council meeting, there will be the public speaking portion of the meeting available to those wishing to express themselves about the city manager – or anything else for that matter.

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