NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

June 27, 2013

Vote on pay raises for council, mayor delayed

McClure objects to measures, postponing decision until tomorrow

(Continued)

Now, with McClure’s objection, another meeting will be scheduled, and because the city charter dictates that any proposal to change the salary of the council or the mayor must be voted on within the first 18 months of the term, the meeting needs to be held by June 30, which is Sunday.

Specifically, McClure invoked Section 3.7.C. of the charter, which allows a single member of the council to object on the first occasion an item is brought to the council for vote. That pushes the vote until the next regularly scheduled or special meeting of the council. The procedure cannot be used more than once, according to the charter.

McClure previously invoked this provision to delay a vote on the $5.9 million DPW project, which ended up passing a month later by an 8-1 vote.

The provision also allows that a bill be pushed to the next regularly scheduled meeting of the council if two members of the council object, and given that the next regularly scheduled meeting isn’t until after the June 30 deadline, then hypothetically either Kelcourse or McMilleon, who both oppose the measure, could have killed the bill had they chosen to join McClure in her objection.

Kelcourse said the reason he didn’t do so was because he felt the measure deserved an up and down vote one way or the other. McMilleon, on the other hand, said he does not “strongly” oppose the proposal and that it’s the timing of the raises he has a problem with, not the concept.

After the meeting, Councilor Bob Lavoie said that McClure has the right as a city councilor to object to any vote under the city charter, and there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

“What’s the outfall, we torture ourselves to come here on Friday at 6 p.m.,” Lavoie said. “Will we? Yes, because that’s part of the job. Are we pleased about it? I’d think no.”

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