SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

April 29, 2014

Light board seeks pay hike

Peabody council to consider raises for light commissioners

(Continued)

Aylward says light commissioners work just as hard as other elected officials, attending monthly meetings, serving on subcommittees, and fielding calls from constituents during emergency situations. They review major projects and oversee a $70 million budget.

“It’s a 24-hour-a-day job,” Aylward said, “even though I’m not sitting behind a desk or running wires there. When you break it all down, my paycheck is $2.53 a month.”

As for pensions, Aylward said he believes any elected official who meets the requirements and puts in 10 years of service should be able to collect. The pension eligibility is due to a 2009 reform law in which the Legislature set $5,000 as the minimum compensation for elected officials to be able to enroll in the retirement system.

Elected officials, just like general government employees, have to be 60 by the time they retire in order to collect a pension. The amount is calculated using a formula based on retirement age, the three highest salary years, and years of service. The annual pension cannot be more than 80 percent of the average salary.

In practical terms, if Aylward were to retire at age 60 with 10 years on the commission at a $5,100 stipend, his annual allowance would be approximately $1,275.

You can reach John Castelluccio at 978-338-2527, jcastelluccio@salemnews.com or via Twitter at @SNjcastelluccio.

light commissioners’ responsibilities

Attend monthly meetings

Serve on subcommittees

Field calls from constituents during emergency situations

Review major projects

Set policy

Oversee plant’s $70 million budget

What they make now: $4,000 annually

What they hope to make: $5,100 annually

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