The City Council, during its February 17 meeting, voted 6-5 to enroll the ordinance sponsored by Ward 3 Councillor Anthony DiPierro to keep Mayor Carlo DeMaria’s longevity pay at $2,500 per year.
“In government, you have to compromise; I believe my ordinance does just that,” said DiPierro. “The current individual serving as mayor has 28 consecutive years of service to this community.”
Yet, on January 31, the council’s Committee of the Whole voted 6-4 to recommend that the mayor’s longevity pay be reduced to $1,700, which would have been consistent with the longevity pay of other department heads. Therefore, Ward 4 Councillor Jimmy Tri Le suggested adopting the committee’s recommendation. However, Le was unsuccessful as DiPierro had already made a motion for favorable action on his ordinance.
Prior to the vote, resident Anthony Raymond called attention to the $180,000 that DeMaria allegedly collected from prior longevity payments, which had reportedly been inflated. Raymond said Chief Financial Officer Eric Demas should be held personally responsible for “disrespecting the Everett taxpayers regarding the longevity payout.”
Le said the matter pertaining to the $180,000 has been referred to Massachusetts Inspector General Glenn Cunha. He also said the ongoing stream of emails from residents was unnecessary. Therefore, Le asked City Council President John Hanlon to intervene. “Could you please tell the taxpayers of Everett to put a halt on emailing us, demanding that the mayor repay that money?” Le asked. “We have no authority over him whatsoever and it’s out of our jurisdiction.”
However, Hanlon did not agree with Le’s request. “I’m not about to tell people what they can do or can’t do on email,” he said.
Resident Paula Sterite asked the councillors to make, what she believes, is the right decision. “We’re not asking you to put on a uniform and go fight in a war – all we’re asking is to do the right thing for the people of Everett,” she said. “Giving the mayor any additional money is an insult to every resident and taxpayer, especially when he has already pocketed over $180,000 wrongfully.”
Resident John Puopolo said DeMaria’s annual base salary of $191,000 continues to be out of line. “The current salary is more than [the salaries of] many governors in the country,” he said.
Further investigation by The Advocate showed that Governor Charlie Baker has the fifth-highest gubernatorial salary in the nation, receiving $185,000 per year. Elsewhere in New England, Vermont Governor Phil Scott receives $184,100, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont receives $150,000, Rhode Island Governor Daniel McKee receives $145,755, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu receives $134,581 and Maine Governor Janet Mills receives $70,000.
Sandra Juliano, owner of JRS Properties, said DeMaria has not done anything worthy of a longevity bonus. “I do not believe the mayor should be entitled to such a bonus,” she said. “He’s simply doing the job that he is paid to do; this is not private industry.”
Resident Janice Lark said DeMaria’s real reward came in November 2021 when he was reelected to a sixth term. “We like to say this bonus is about the position, but we know this is about the mayor,” she said. “The mayor received his reward when he was reelected; he doesn’t need a cash reward.”
Maria Bussell, executive secretary of the Everett Fire Department, said she has worked for the city since 1996 and makes a base salary of $64,000. Although she receives $1,650 per year in longevity pay, it took her a while to reach that point. “I did not start receiving longevity until I was employed for 10 years,” said Bussell.