In November of 2011, the people of Everett ushered in a new era in city government when they approved the new City Charter. In doing so, they upgraded the City Council – by downsizing it – and signaled the need for less politics in the Office of Mayor by providing a four-year term.
The new Charter is a flexible document. Many of its provisions took effect last November upon ratification by the voters of Everett. Other provisions will not take effect until the municipal election in November of 2013. One area that falls somewhere in between is the duty of the current City Council – the Board of Aldermen and the Common Council – to set the salary for the Mayor and the new 11-member City Council who will assume office in January of 2014.
At the July 30 meeting of the Board of Aldermen, a measure was passed – on a 4-3 vote – to establish a salary for the new City Council at $25,000. Given the desperate need to attract qualified candidates to the City Council, I supported that measure as a way to accomplish that goal.
Since that meeting, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on my vote and, unfortunately, have determined that it was not the correct vote. For my entire time in office, I have taken great pride in ensuring that every vote I have cast is in the best interests of the people of Everett. This particular vote was inconsistent with that philosophy, and was an error on my part for which I apologize.
Although we should implement a compensation level for City Councilors that provides an incentive for qualified individuals to seek office – we should be consistent in paying what comparable communities pay for similar office holders. Based on my own review of comparable communities around Everett, that amount appears to be $15,000. This is the amount that was recommended out of the Finance Committee several weeks ago, and this is the amount I am asking the Common Council and Board of Aldermen to consider, and pass, as the most appropriate.
My hope is that this measure will be amended downward in order to ensure that the compensation for our future City Councilors is consistent with their important duties, is an incentive for future candidates, and is in the best interests of the people of Everett who ultimately fund these positions.
I hope my colleagues will support my position.