SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

May 18, 2013

Mayor proposes raises for nonunion city workers

By Alan Burke
Staff writer

---- — PEABODY — It won’t exactly be Christmas in July, but city employees who are not part of any union may be getting a 2 percent pay increase starting July 1.

That’s the recommendation from Mayor Ted Bettencourt, and it goes before the City Council in the form of two ordinances on Thursday.

The increase is “consistent with other recently settled collective bargaining agreements,” the mayor said in his letter to the council. It involves a 2 percent increase this year, 2 percent next year and another 2 percent in 2014. It applies to positions “not subject to collective bargaining.”

“I think that’s what most of the unions have been getting,” commented at-large City Councilor Jim Liacos. “Some of these people were probably due an upgrade. Some of these positions were stagnant.”

The increase is one Liacos characterized as “very modest.”

It impacts roughly 80 people, including both full- and part-time workers. The salaries vary, with the low number assigned to several of the secretaries serving city boards, including the planning and appeals boards. They are slated to earn $38,392 starting in July.

Meanwhile, department heads, including the directors of community development, finance and administration, public services and the city solicitor are expected to earn $104,166 each beginning July 1.

A second ordinance would, starting in July, raise the salary for the chief of police to $102,163, deputies to $84,405 and the fire chief to $104,166. These would rise by 2 percent in each of the two years to follow.

“I’d like to hear what the mayor has to say before I comment,” said at-large councilor Dave Gravel.

Other councilors were reluctant comment for the same reason.