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February 13, 2014

It's only money

PEABODY — Mayor Ted Bettencourt figures he’s got enough at $105,000 per year, notwithstanding that he isn’t at the top of the city payroll. Nor is he second from the top. Rather, he comes in at 91 on the list for 2013 with $99,966 (a pay raise took effect late in the year).

Nevertheless, the mayor has informed the City Council he doesn’t want another raise.

“I would respectfully request that no salary increase be authorized for fiscal year 2015,” he said.

His salary increase last year came as the council saw their yearly pay rise, as well, to $9,450. The school board got a boost, too. This was the first increase in 12 years.

Former Mayor Mike Bonfanti steadfastly refused to take a pay increase, and councilors felt obliged to follow his lead.

Can’t let go

Will the votes be there to force the Board of Registrars to move polling places out of the schools? The tone of Tuesday’s joint meeting with the School Committee reflected a reduced urgency.

Beverley Griffin Dunne wants to retain voting in the schools as a civic good. Jarrod Hochman listened to proposals for moving the polling places over time and decided, “If it’s going to happen, for me I’d want all or nothing.”

Dave McGeney, acknowledging the difficulty in finding alternate sites, told registrars, “I’m not going to tell you to get out of my school.”

A motion to require that was withdrawn.

Remaining committed, Brandi Carpenter believes better arrangements for the schools and voters could come out of a change. Safety and fewer disruptions are key motivations.

For political types who like the idea of a big tent, School Committeeman Ed Charest is promoting just that as a solution to the registrars’ difficulty in finding places outside of schools where people can vote. He pointed out that tents can be large, they can be heated, and they can be installed with hard floors.

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