Ward 3 City Councillor Anthony Cogliandro and Councillor-at-Large Marc Silvestri want their fellow councillors to show up to all the meetings if they want to earn their full salary. At Monday night’s City Council meeting, the two councillors presented a motion asking the council to draft an ordinance that will deduct a percentage of a City Councillor’s salary when they are absent from a regular meeting or a sub-committee meeting. The motion was referred to the council’s Legislative Affairs Subcommittee.
“I just want to go over some statistics,” said Cogliandro. “First, I want to say that there are reasons that people shouldn’t be at these meetings – totally understandable. We’ve had 19 subcommittees, and we’ve had two of them full; we’ve had 11 council meetings, and we’ve only had every councillor at four of them.”
Cogliandro said he understands that the job of a city councillor extends beyond the meetings, but that they are paid to attend meetings and conduct business for the residents. “I feel that it is a disservice to the people when we aren’t able to come here and conduct it,” he said. “I’ll just bring up one other thing: There was a subcommittee we had, and we didn’t even have a quorum … that’s bad. Obviously, I’m looking forward to some more discussion on this.”
Silvestri said it’s an issue he has been passionate about since he was elected in November. “It’s not aimed at anyone personally, but I echo Councillor Cogliandro’s feelings,” said Silvestri. “We are elected, we are here to represent the people of Revere, and it’s our duty. We have less than 24 meetings in a year as council meetings, and I think that unless there is a family member’s death, someone is very ill, an emergency comes up – we all have that happen – but we need to do better at being here 100 percent of the time as elected officials here in this city.”
Councillors-at-Large George Rotondo and Dan Rizzo both said there could be issues with moving ahead and docking a councillor’s pay. “We have to be very careful with that,” said Rotondo. “We had three city councillors who passed while in office and missed numerous months due to illness, operations, cancer and sepsis.”
Rotondo asked how the ordinance would come into play if someone had multiple surgeries, or cancer or needed time off because they had a child.
Rizzo said he understands the motive behind the motion, but said he agreed with Rotondo that sometimes there were going to be incidents beyond a councillor’s control. “I’d like to think if someone is not showing up to the meeting, it’s not because they didn’t want to come to the meeting,” said Rizzo. “As an example, there was a meeting I could not go to; it was kind of a special meeting; it wasn’t on the calendar … I requested to Zoom in on the meeting; that was denied.”
At the end of the day, Rizzo said, the councillors do not work for each other, but for the voters. “The voters are who put us in office,” said Rizzo. “If the voters think we are not doing our job, we’re probably not going to get elected next time. I just think that if we are going to draft an ordinance and start self-governing ourselves and talking about financial penalties, then we have to be careful with this.”