Salary Commission Calls for Mayoral, City Council Raises

Salary commission Chairman and former Mayor John J. Guerin Jr. as he appeared on WHAV’s Open Mike Show several years ago.

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini.

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini.

A Salary Survey Commission, appointed last January by Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini, recommends revised annual salaries for city councilors and the mayor while abolishing “non-documented, monthly expense payments to any elected official.”

On Tuesday’s city council meeting agenda, commission Chairman and former Mayor John J. Guerin Jr. will present the panel’s findings. It compared models from “a host of other Massachusetts municipalities in order to recommend a fair and appropriate level of compensation.” After “very time consuming” data gathering and subsequent meetings in April and May, the commission has recommended councilor salaries be set at $15,000 while the council president would be paid $18,000. Also the commission recommended a $110,000 mayor’s annual salary and no recommendation on school committee compensation as it was adjusted “fairly recently.”

“The Salary Survey Commission presents these recommendations for the city council, as the city’s legislative body, to review, deliberate and eventually codify in ordinance form, if it so chooses,” a summary statement reads. “We make no recommendation to adjust school committee compensation but urge the council to codify current compensation for that board.  Further, we recommend that the city council make its own determination as to whether elected city officials should continue to be eligible for health insurance benefits purchased through the city’s plans.”

Haverhill City Council President John A. Michitson.

Haverhill City Council President John A. Michitson.

As WHAV reported last January, the Salary Survey Commission was formed by Fiorentini, as requested by Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan, after councilors in December were forced to rescind a $2,400 increase in each councilor’s expense account amid concerns about its legality. Also last year, school committee members voted to revoke its own expense account increases without discussion.

In addition to Guerin, appointed commission members include former city Personnel Director Mary Carrington, 61 Upland Ave.; Jeffery Linehan, president, Diversified Business Systems, 144 Hilldale Ave.; and Stacey L. Bruzzese, president, Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, 80 Merrimack St. Fiorentini also appointed non-voting members City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr., 8 Richmond St., and current city Personnel Director Denise McClanahan, of Woburn. Members’ terms expire June 30.

The Haverhill City Council meets at 7 p.m., Tuesday, in Theodore A, Pelosi Jr. Council Chambers at Haverhill City Hall.

5 thoughts on “Salary Commission Calls for Mayoral, City Council Raises

  1. I wonder if these communities they looked at have ALL of their councilors considered as ” at large”. Haverhill must finally change the charter and go to a Ward councilor system so the residents have a councilor within their ward. This needs to happen before there is a lawsuit which could cost the city a lot of money.

    Also, are residents aware that the councilors get insurance benefits AND their time as a councilor is considered the same as a city and state employee when it comes to pensions ? Just ask former councilor Dekeon who switched from being a democrat to a republican to get a cushy job with the state in exchange for his delegate vote AND up his pension ? Nice gig if you can get it. Thanks to Mr. Ryan and his accomplices for that one !

  2. So compensation is based on what other communities are paying versus how the people in these jobs perform?
    Except for the position of mayor, these are volunteer positions. The people making the personal decision to run for office know this going in. There is no “compensation market” because these positions are not like a normal job where someone will leave a position and then take one in another community. This is nothing more than a money grab to rip off tax payers. Did anyone actually think any of mayor taxman’s hand picked hacks were actually going to not recommend raises?

    If compensation is increasing let’s take a look at the reality of how city officials are performing. Property taxes are up EVERY year. There are parking taxes and meals taxes severely negatively impacting people who live and work downtown. Fees for city services have been increased across the board. The city invested in a vehicle and employees for the sole purpose of driving around downtown to write as many parking tickets as possible. City councilors voted to take a private property owner’s building downtown by eminent domain for the purpose of selling it to a developer at a profit. And on and on and on it goes. All of this is nothing new….every councilor knows all this…yet they literally do nothing to change the negative impact on the standard of living these issues cause on so many people.
    The quality of life and standard of living is down in the city and for that city officials deserve a raise?
    It’s so pathetic as usual.

  3. “It compared models from “a host of other Massachusetts municipalities in order to recommend a fair and appropriate level of compensation.” –

    At least when Republicans do something like this, they don’t hide that they’re trying to screw you, you know you’re getting screwed. With Democrats, you simply get blatant hypocrisy, but they tell you how good it is for you even when it isn’t.

    This is yet another saga of voters continuing to vote for the status quo, yet continue to complain when nothing is fixed. Here we have a who’s-who of locals, who either individually or by way of their employer have contributed nearly $20K in local and state political campaign coffers according to the The Massachusetts Office of Campaign & Political Finance. The quid pro quo here is no exception.

    There’s more irony here of course, especially in this city which must continue with their deficit spending. This is a city that is relatively poor, in a state where median incomes have been in decline for over 15 years, which has also become the most income disparate state in the country. So when cronies vote to give their fellow cronies more salary & benefits, that will continue to hamstring future generations who pay for this cronyism. Why would they care? In Haverhill’s case, for most public employees, almost a doubling of household income over those they serve depending on which part of the city one lives. This is before we even look at the dystopian benefits in their retirement where Haverhill’s pension system has long been in maturity status (more taking than contributing).

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” – Sinclair


    Neither political Party is interested in fixing anything as there’s absolutely nothing to see here…