Having been blogging for a number of years and seeing the time commitment many of the City Councilors especially this past Mayor have given this city and watching the School Committee people attend meetings, subcommittees and performances I have no issue stating that these elected officials are under paid.
However when you have gone to Fact finding with one Union (rumors say the contract will be settled soon, before the facts are publicly released) and you have the firefighters and 1705 up for contracts on top of back to back 3% + property tax increases, and the talk about changing the requirements for a preliminary election , the 2nd meeting of the year for a new Council is NOT the time nor is the Mayor the person who should suggest a pay raise or salary adjustment for elected officials.
Yet Mayor Kennedy has this item on the January 19th Agenda:
M. Kennedy – Req. City Council consider salary adjustments for members of the City Council and School Committee.
What are the chances Kennedy is suggesting a cut? Chelmsford doesn’t pay their elected officials.
By bringing in the motion to consider salary adjustments at the same time two other Councilors are looking to change the requirement for a Preliminary –
C. Mercier/C. Belanger – Req. City Council support home rule petition by way of the Constitution of special acts which allows us to raise the primary for a local election from 19 candidates to 25 candidates and the number of signatures from 50 to 100.
It makes this Council look like they are trying to feather their own nest at the taxpayers expense, while making it more difficult for challengers.
Mayor Kennedy snubs three Councilors at his inaugural address, now in his 2nd meeting as Mayor he wants to snub the taxpayers with a request for a salary adjustment? Why Now? Why can’t it wait? Is he trying to force a full blown Charter Change Committee?
I’m in favor of raising the number of candidates required to 23 or 25 and of upping the signatures to 100, especially when you remember how often some candidates missed forums and debates. It is reasonable for a city this size to ask candidates to get 100 signatures, many do so already.
Before it is voted on it needs to go to a public meeting for community discussion and allowing those who have concerns to voice them and have them addressed.
I’m also not opposed to increasing the stipend for these offices.
I am opposed to doing both at the same time and giving the appearance that this council’s priority is protecting their own interest. The Mayor should pull the motion for a later date and well after the preliminary issue is settled and the contracts of the city workers are settled.
At the later date the motion for raises should be sent to a committee or the Mayor should form a committee made up of some former councilors, managers, business people and citizens to look at Lowell versus Worcester, Brockton, Fall River and communities throughout the country to compare and contrast the salaries.