Council Committee to Review Elected Post Salary Suggestions

Haverhill City Concilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Haverhill City Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien.

The Haverhill City Council’s Administration and Finance subcommittee will take on a renewed effort to bring revised salary amounts for elected office “to a conclusion.”

Councilors voted 9 to 0 Tuesday to forward a city Salary Survey Commission report and its recommended compensation structure for city council, school committee and mayor for further deliberation between commission members and the committee. Former Mayor John J. Guerin Jr., commission chairman, told councilors a “dedicated and diligent group,” named last January by Mayor James J. Fiorentini, assumed a “sensitive” task with a “great sense of purpose” for what he called “the essence of a civic duty.”

“I’d also like to thank the council for acting upon councilor Sullivan’s suggestion to review the compensation structure in the first place. It was really critical because it had been literally decades since a truly thoughtful review of this subject matter had been undertaken,” Guerin said. “And then, as the elderly fellow said to his grandfather in the commercial, ‘It’ll be your little red wagon. You can push it, pull it or let it be.’”

As WHAV reported this week, the commission 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 leave school committee salary to a “fairly recently” adjusted level of $8,250.

“That goes along with all non-documented monthly expense payments to any elected official should be abolished. And in its place, city councilors should be entitled to reasonable expense reimbursements only incurred in the normal course of their duties. A salary survey commission is also recommended to be convened every four years to ensure the fair and appropriate compensation of our elected officials is to be regularly reviewed,” Guerin added.

Councilor and Administration and Finance Committee member Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien, who motioned to forward the report, said the commission went “above and beyond in trying to find the middle road” and asked its members meet with Administration and Finance to help “make a fair suggestion to bring back to the council.”

“I was on the Administration and Finance and chair the first time this came up years ago and at that time we were unable to move forward. But, I think, because it’s coming from an outside recommendation, this time we should bring it to a conclusion,” Daly O’Brien said.

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.

2 thoughts on “Council Committee to Review Elected Post Salary Suggestions

  1. Just once I’d like to hear one city official talk about performance and accomplishments.
    If you all think the time and effort you put in should be tied to a financial incentive then you need to tell taxpayers what positive accomplishments you’ve achieved to deserve the money.

    Never confuse activity with accomplishment.