The Town Council will get a significant raise starting in 2018 after members approved an increase at Tuesday’s meeting.
Pay for Councilors will rise from $5,000 to $7,500 and the Council President will received $10,500 (including a stipend for serving on the School Committee) up from $6,500.
The Council did not technically give itself a raise, said Council Vice President Vincent Piccirilli, because the raise does not start until the next Town Council takes office. Therefore current councilors must be reelected to get the increase.
The Council has not had a pay raise since 1999. Councilor Susan Falkoff said, “It’s about time.”
Piccirilli said other communities pay councilors more, such as Waltham ($17,538) Medford ($14,000) and Cambridge, where they get $77,934, according to a study by a Council subcommittee.
In past years, Council President Mark Sideris said this has come up before and he voted against it, but he supported it this time.
“Even now, we are in the middle of what I have seen for (council pay) in the area,” Sideris said. “The role of the council has evolved into one where we have many, many more meetings and many more requests to be addressed.”
Councilor Angeline Kounelis said she is typically out four nights a week on Council business and sometimes on the weekend.
Councilors said perhaps the increased pay will attract more people to run for the seats.
The measure passed 8-0, with Tony Palomba unable to attend the meeting.
Subcommittee Meeting Minutes
The Council also voted to ask Town Manager Michael Driscoll to look into hiring a contract worker to take minutes of Council subcommittee meetings.
Councilors said they have a hard time taking accurate notes and still participating in discussions at subcommittee meetings. Typing up the minutes can also take hours, some said. Falkoff said she does not have a problem writing notes and participating in meetings, so she would like to be able to have the option of doing it herself. Sideris said that would be an option.