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May 9, 2014

Raises proposed for City Council

School Committee would also get pay bump

NEWBURYPORT — City Council president Tom O’Brien has filed a measure to give city councilors and members of the School Committee a pay raise.

Under O’Brien’s proposal, the councilors’ pay would be 8 percent of the annual compensation of the mayor. She now earns $98,000 per year. The president of the council would receive an additional $1,000 per year.

Councilors currently earn $5,000 per year.

School Committee members would be in line to earn 4 percent of the mayor’s salary. The vice chairman of the committee would receive an additional $1,000. Committee members now earn $2,500 per year.

O’Brien said that councilors used to get 10 percent of the mayor’s salary — when the mayor would have earned about $50,000. The mayor’s salary has increased but the 10 percent figure was dropped.

Councilors haven’t received raises in more than a decade, city officials say.

If approved, the increases would go into effect in January 2016.

The item will be included on the agenda for Monday night’s council meeting.

Councilors will also hear of the mayor’s appointment of Robert Uhlig as a member of the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority. Uhlig, president of an architecture firm, is the longtime chairman of the Parks Commission.

Holaday recently named Leslie Eckholdt to the NRA and that appointment was sent to a council subcommittee for review.

The mayor has the authority to appoint members, but the council must approve the appointments.

The five-person NRA currently has only two members, following the departures of three from the panel.

The agenda also includes a letter from Market Basket supermarket chain, which says that the company opposes a ban on thin plastic bags in which shoppers carry out groceries.

The corporation, based in Tewksbury, said it is environmentally friendly, but it questions whether banning plastic will help the community become more green.

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