$15,000 annual salary finalized for new city council

After several months of considering and debating proposals and then some counter-proposals, it’s finally official – a $15,000 annual salary has been established for the 11 members of the new, charter-mandated city council that will take office in January of 2014.

The salary plan, which does not extend health insurance benefits to the councilors-to-be, was ordained into law on a 14-1 vote Monday night by the current common council.

The vote finalized a legislative process that stretched over several months.

The members of the new city council will be paid more than the current aldermen ($7,200 a year) and members of the common council ($5,500) presently receive.

The new salary ordinance had to receive a pair of concurring affirmative votes from both legislative branches of Everett’s bicameral city government.

On both aldermanic roll call tallies – with the second one taken two weeks ago – the vote was 6-1 to approve the $15,000 salary.

Ald. Millie Cardello was the sole dissenter.

Prior to the common council giving the legislation its finalizing vote of ordainment earlier this week, the councilors had given its initial blessing three weeks ago on a 15-1 vote.

In each instance, the only negative vote was cast by Councilor Catherine Tomassi Hicks.

At this week’s meeting, Hicks again repeated her stand that her conscience wouldn’t let her vote for a $15,000 pay for the new council because the economy is so strained and seniors are being limited to a token one percent “cost of living” increase in their social security checks.

Hicks said she would vote for a $10,000 salary, but not $15,000.

However, the councilwoman did not offer a formal amendment to lower the proposed salary.

Originally – when the issue of establishing the new council’s pay was first brought up several months ago – a plan was offered to pay the members of the new council $25,000 a year.

That was scaled back to $19,500 and then it was scaled back even more by the finance committee to the eventual compromise figure of $15,000.

A bid to include some “stipends” – extra pay for the president and for members of the “most active” committees – was also considered, but eventually abandoned.