SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

February 25, 2013

Raises stir up negative feelings

Pay hikes allow members of school board to count service toward pensions

PEABODY — Some city councilors are acknowledging a backlash following their decision last week to raise salaries for city councilors and School Committee members, along with that of the mayor.

The vote, which boosted school board salaries from $4,000 per year to $5,100, put those officials in a position to receive pensions for the first time.

Council President Tom Gould said he wasn’t aware of this added benefit for School Committee members when he voted for the increase. But asked if knowing would have changed his vote, he said, “I don’t think it would have.”

Pension reform laws passed in 2009 bar School Committee members from counting their years of service toward public pensions if they earn $5,000 or less. The council’s vote puts them over that limit.

Gould conceded that not all his constituents are happy with the pay raises.

“There’s been a lot of negativity,” he said, something he said is understandable given the state of the economy. “We have to be sensitive. It’s a tough economy. ... I see people every day who are struggling.”

On the other hand, he said, school board members hadn’t had a raise since 1998. The mayor and city councilors last got pay raises in 2001.

Starting in March, the mayor’s salary will rise from nearly $95,000 to $105,000. School Committee raises will also begin in March.

City councilors’ pay raises won’t take effect until the new term in 2014. Thereafter, however, councilors will get automatic pay raises every time the mayor gets a raise, because they voted to set their own compensation at 9 percent of the mayor’s salary. Beginning in 2014, that works out to $9,450 per year, plus an $1,800 stipend for expenses.

City councilors and School Committee members in Peabody can also opt into the city’s health insurance program. School Committee members who enjoy this benefit include Beverley Ann Griffin Dunne, Jarrod Hochman, Dave McGeney and Brandi Carpenter. Councilors taking city health benefits are Michael Garabedian, Rico Mello, Barry Sinewitz and Gould.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News

AP Video
Johnson: Six Arrests, No Tear Gas in Ferguson Raw: Rescue, Relief Efforts at Japan Landslide Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream Raw: Woman Escorted From Ferguson Protests California Drought Stings Honeybees, Beekeepers Officer Who Pointed Gun at Protesters Suspended Holder Hopes to Bring Calm to Ferguson Today in History August 21 Holder Pledges Top Investigators for Ferguson US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Manfred, Torre and MLB Take Ice Bucket Challenge Bank of America Reaches Record $17B Settlement Holder Reassures Ferguson Community With Visit GlobalPost CEO Remembers Foley As a Brave Man Seth Meyers Rolls Out Emmy Red Carpet Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Pierce Brosnan's Call to Join the Expendables Changes Coming to No-Fly List
Comments Tracker