Before Raising Next Mayor’s Salary, Haverhill City Council Votes to Study Matter Further

Haverhill City Hall. (WHAV News file photograph.)

The analysis of an outside committee that recommends a salary increase for Haverhill’s next mayor and the cutting of benefits for the City Council and School Committee will be the focus of more scrutiny.

Recommendations of a five-person Salary Review Committee formally came before the City Council for a vote last night, but was deferred by a vote of 8-1 to a subcommittee. As only WHAV previously reported, the Committee compared Haverhill with 44 other cities and towns of similar population, geographic area and those identified as gateway communities. Haverhill Bank President and CEO Thomas L. Mortimer, committee chairman, said comparisons showed Haverhill as 13th in population but 29th in salary.

“The data that was provided to us included approximately 46 cities and towns for the mayor’s salary. We wound up coming up with a salary recommendation for the mayor of $150,000 up from the 110 I believe it’s at today,” he told councilors.

Mortimer said the evaluation also took into account the last recommendation survey was done seven years ago and there will likely not be another until 2027. Compensation comparisons for city councilors and School Committee members were also reviewed.

“We went through and found that those salaries were pretty much in line with most of the towns and communities and so we recommended that the current City Council salary of $15,000 remain the same and the City Council president of $18,000 remain the same as well,” he said.

Mortimer said the School Committee salary of $8,000 per year is also in line with similar communities and should, likewise, remain the same.

In addition, he noted, Haverhill does subsidize health insurance for both councilors and School Committee members ranging from $7,300 to $17,400. He said approximately half of the towns surveyed provide health insurance and his committee recommended phasing out those benefits.

Following that presentation, Councilor Catherine P. Rogers made a motion to split the two recommendations into separate votes. That proposal passed unanimously.

At the same time, Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan proposed sending the report to the Council’s own Administration and Finance Committee for a more thorough examination before any votes are taken. That proposal passed by an 8-1 margin with Council President Timothy J. Jordan opposed. Jordan said he was ready to make a decision.

Appointed by Jordan, the Salary Review Committee was comprised of Mortimer and members Allison Heartquist, Haverhill Public-Private Partnership director; Alexandria Eberhardt, Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce president and CEO; Lisa Marzilli, principal scientist at Pfizer; and Graciela Trilla, Hill View Montessori Charter Public School ELE director and Wisteria Montessori School head of school.

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