, Newburyport, MA

Local News

June 27, 2013

Vote on pay raises for council, mayor delayed

McClure objects to measures, postponing decision until tomorrow

AMESBURY — In a last-ditch effort to prevent a vote to raise the annual salaries of the City Council and the mayor, Councilor Donna McClure invoked a provision in the city charter allowing her to object to the measures and postpone them until the council’s next meeting.

As a result, the council voted to schedule a third special meeting for tomorrow at 6 p.m. at a location to be determined — most likely at the Costello Transportation Center — where the issue will be settled once and for all.

McClure said the reason she objected to the vote was because she felt that passing raises for the council and for the mayor was the wrong thing to do at this time and that it would send the wrong message to the residents.

“I would hope that they may reflect and see their way clear to do the right thing for the people of Amesbury,” McClure said. “I’m hopeful that will happen.”

At issue are two proposals put forth by Council President Anne Ferguson, one which would raise the annual salaries of the city councilors and the other, the annual salary of the mayor. If approved as proposed, each city councilor’s salary would increase from $3,000 to $7,500 and the council president’s salary would rise from $4,500 to $9,500. Similarly, the mayor’s salary would increase from $80,000 to $97,000.

Last week, the Finance Committee endorsed a scaled-back version of the original proposals, recommending that the council raise its own salaries from $3,000 to $5,200, the council president’s salary from $4,500 to $6,500 and the mayor’s salary from $80,000 to $90,000. Both recommendations passed by a 5-3 vote, with councilors McClure, Jim Kelcourse and Joseph McMilleon voting no.

Originally, the councilors were expected to take a vote during a special meeting immediately following that Finance Committee meeting, but after the meeting ran past 10 p.m., councilors moved to schedule another special meeting for last night. That would allow a vote of the full City Council, since Councilor Christian Scorzoni was absent from the meeting.

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