To the editor:
I am disappointed to see the disinformation in your June 12 article about the Newburyport city budget. The City Council did not reduce any employee salaries. We voted to reduce proposed increases to two and only two officials.
Instead of the 21% raise proposed for the mayor (adjusted last week to 9%), we agreed to increase it by 5%, the same most department heads will get. Instead of the 21% raise proposed for the city clerk, we agreed to increase it by 10%, double what most department heads will get.
You might have reported that the mayor’s salary has gone up from $60,000 in 2012 to, now, $102,000. plus an extra $6,700 yearly from the Wheelwright Fund. You might have reported that the city clerk is actually the employee of the City Council, not the mayor, and it was “disrespectful” for the mayor to interfere in negotiations with our employee, and then use the 10% pay raise we just gave him to drive a wedge between us and him.
The city projects its revenues to increase by 3.4% annually over the next 10 years, and its employees’ salaries to increase by only 2% annually over that same period. If a proposed pay raise comes in at 20% in a single year, 10 times higher, the City Council has a duty to question that, even if it hurts sensitive feelings.
Not one councilor cast aspersions on the work ethic of the mayor or city clerk, the only officials whose raises we voted to reduce. Actually, there was only one proposed raise we rejected entirely: to city councilors, whose annual salaries will stay at $5,000.
Newburyport City Council, Ward 2