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Mayor’s longevity pay hangs in the balance once again

2017 DeMaria
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  The City Council’s Committee of the Whole recently voted 6-4 to recommend that the section of the City Charter pertaining to the mayor’s longevity pay be deleted in its entirety.

  Section 7-167 states that “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.”

  During the January 31 meeting, Councillor-at-Large Stephanie Smith said that based on her own research, Brockton, Newton, Agawam, Chicopee and Holyoke are the only other communities that offer longevity pay. She said that in those cities a $1,350 bonus is given to those individuals who have been employed for at least 25 years. “Everett is completely out of line even with the cities that do offer longevity,” said Smith. “Elected officials should not get longevity. You’re elected by the people, that is your longevity.”

  Therefore, Smith made a motion to adjust Mayor Carlo DeMaria’s longevity pay to be consistent with that of the other department heads.

  Section 7-166 of the Charter states that “All permanent full-time non-union and administrative officers and employees shall receive a longevity payment as follows: 10 years service $400, 15 years service $650, 20 years service $850. All permanent full-time non-union and administrative officers and employees that are department heads shall receive a longevity payment as follows:

10 years service $800, 15 years service $1,300, 20 years service $1,700. Payment shall be made on the anniversary date of employment. If an officer or employee terminates service, by death or retirement, they shall be entitled to a pro-rated payment based on the number of whole months of service since the previous anniversary date.”

  However, Ward 6 Councillor Alfred Lattanzi opposed Smith’s motion. “He’s not the same as every other department head, he’s the CEO,” said Lattanzi. “The longevity payment is a drop in the bucket. To tell you the truth, I’m a little disgusted about the whole thing.”

  Ward 3 Councillor Anthony DiPierro reminded his colleagues about DeMaria’s many accomplishments during his time in office. “It is my opinion that a five-term mayor is worth more than a one-term mayor,” said DiPierro. “Longevity is peanuts compared to the dividends it pays back to the community. I don’t know why we’re attempting to discredit the city’s top position.”

  Councillor-at-Large Michael Marchese reiterated that the mayor’s longevity bonus has gotten much larger than what the City Council originally approved in 2016. “I don’t know where it morphed into $40,000 to $50,000 a year,” he said, adding that a third of the city’s residents live in poverty.

  Marchese also called attention to DeMaria’s salary, which he said is approximately $190,000 per year. “He gets compensated very well,” he said. “I don’t even think the mayor of Boston gets paid that much money.”

  However, according to the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu receives a yearly salary of $207,000.

  The committee voted 6-4 to pass Smith’s motion to adjust DeMaria’s longevity pay in accordance with Section 7-166. The committee’s recommendations will be presented to the City Council during its next meeting on February 14.

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