$20,000 Raise for Mayor, Hikes in City Council Salaries Proposed

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Could the potential for a bigger payday inject new interest in the mayor’s race this fall?

On Tuesday, a proposed ordinance will come before the City Council that would  increase the mayor’s salary by $20,000—to $110,000 from $90,000. It would raise councilors’ salaries as well, but by a lesser proportion.

The council meets beginning at 7 p.m. in the Theodore A. Pelosi Jr. City Council Chambers on the second floor of Haverhill City Hall. The meeting is open to the public.

It would be the second time in just over six months that city councilors would see an increase in their paychecks.

In April, councilors’ expenses were folded into their annual salary, the result of IRS rules governing the practice, explained City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr. While the overall effect was neutral in terms of income, the resulting increase in salary will be reflected in  councilors’ contributions to their retirement accounts. Councilors’ base salaries hadn’t changed in 30 years.

The shift resulted in the council president receiving an annual pay of $14,384 from a previous $9,500. The other eight councilors’ pay rose to $12,884 from a previous $8,000.

The newly proposed raises would nearly double the council’s pre-April paychecks, setting the council president’s salary at $18,000 and the other councilors’ pay at $15,000.

According to council rules, the ordinance must be held for 10 business days before it can be acted upon.

All the raises would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2018, just in time for Inauguration Day for the winners of this fall’s elections.

Mayor James J. Fiorentini has not faced serious opposition since 2009, when current City Council President John A. Michitson mounted a mayoral run.

In the past three election cycles, Fiorentini has had only one official challenger, relatively unknown political newcomer Debra M. Campanile, in 2011. Fiorentini ran unopposed in 2013 and 2015, except for write-in and sticker campaigns by Haverhill Fire Lt. Tyler Kimball. Fiorentini won all three races easily. He has served seven two-year terms.

A lively City Council race is shaping up, with several incumbents indicating they will seek re-election, including Melinda E. Barrett, Thomas J. Sullivan, Colin F. LePage, Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien, Joseph J. Bevilacqua, William J. Macek and Michael S. McGonagle. Potential challengers so far include Tim Jordan, School Committee member Shaun Toohey, Dave Maddaluno, former Councilor Kenneth E. Quimby Jr., Adele F. Martino, Michael J. Katsulis and Fred Simmons. The top nine vote-getters serve.

Candidates have until Tuesday, Aug. 15 to file nomination papers.

Three School Committee members’ terms expire this year, Toohey, attorney Paul A. Magliocchetti and Maura Ryan Ciardiello. Four challengers have expressed interest in their seats: Alicia Smolar, Katrina Hobbs Everett, Richard Rosa  and Richard Smyth.

If there are three or more mayoral candidates, 19 or more City Council candidates or more than six School Committee candidates, a preliminary election to narrow the field will be scheduled on Tuesday, Sept. 12.

The regular city election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

 

 

 

 

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5 Comments

  1. Jenn said:

    Will somebody please challenge the current mayor?! This is getting ridiculous. The citizens in Haverhill need a choice. The only way I would agree to these raises is if at the same time they also enacted term limits.

  2. Jack Haverhill said:

    In the real world raises are given out based on performance. Does this look like a resume of a mayor deserving a raise? Nevermind even continuing in the job….

    ~He advocated for the purchase and then sale of Hale Hospital leaving the city $100Million in debt.
    ~Created parking taxes downtown, which he is aggressively trying to raise.
    ~Bought a city vehicle and hired employees to drive around downtown to ticket as many cars as possible
    ~Created a meals tax on restaurants throughout the city
    ~Hired Trash Police to go door to door to fine people for not putting garbage at the street correctly
    ~Increases property taxes 2.5% EVERY year
    ~Taxes have increased over 25% in just the past 8 years
    ~Increased taxes in 2013 by 2.5% and then ended the year with a $3.5Million budget surplus and kept the money to give out in the form of raises
    ~Leaves the $3.5Million surplus in the budget every year leaving taxpayers to pay money that is a phantom expense in the budget every year.
    ~Water and sewer rates are set to increase by 50% because of his inaction to secure alternative water sources and adhering to state mandates.
    ~Got the city sued by trying to take private property of a downtown landowner by eminent domain so the city could turn around and sell the building for a profit.
    ~Used the power of his office to threaten a city property owner to take campaign signs down for the candidate he did not support.
    ~Inconvenienced visitors and business owners downtown to make a few thousand dollars from a movie studio
    ~Double dipping on all youth sports leagues by charging a fee to use fields they have already paid to maintain
    ~Intentionally falsified documentation to defraud the city council to bring a weed treatment distribution facility to the city.
    ~Threatened a female school committee member with intimidation who wasn’t going to support a dangerous solar panel issue on city schools.
    ~Lied multiple times about the savings to the city and taxpayers for energy conservation programs.
    ~Charges a fee to park in a garage downtown taxpayers already paid to build
    ~Charges a fee to drop recycling items off at DPW that he turns around and sells at a profit
    ~Entered into private sector investment again with Harbor Place using taxpayer funds
    ~Kept 29 city employee felons on the city payroll after they committed felony larceny by conspiring to steal over $54,000.00 from taxpayers.
    ~Allowed a city cop to easily retire after he was found to be literally sleeping every night while on duty
    ~Said and did nothing when two criminal trespassers in the country illegally dragged a teenage girl into the woods at Riverside Park and raped her.
    ~Praised city councilor Andy Vargas for his support of criminal trespassers from other countries illegally living in Haverhill.
    ~As Chairman of the school board permitted a non-citizen of this country to participate in public debate on a school issue.
    ~As Chairman of the school board printed “Yo Vote’ ” (I voted) stickers to hand out to all non-English speaking criminal trespassers in the country who fraudulently and illegally voted in the presidential election.
    ~He even clear cut a forest to raise just a few thousand dollars for his failing administration.
    ~Covered up contaminated water delivered to the elderly and children
    ~Streets were an absolute disaster after an average snow storm.

  3. jack said:

    WHAT ? A raise for doing what may I ask ? There should be NO PAY at all for these positions. Many councilors run to keep the health insurance and / or the retirement benefits. It is disgusting. You people ran for the office of councilor knowing the current pay. You chose to run, nobody forced you. If you do not like the pay, then don;t run again. This is getting out of hand. None of these people will get my support any longer.

  4. Duncan Burns said:

    If Beacon Hill can pass $18 million dollar raises for themselves and make it repeal proof, I’m sure The City of Haverhill, with Brian Dempsey’s blessing, will find a way also. #EatCake!

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