City employees’ pay may be increased

On October 17, 2012, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

The City of Somerville is looking at options and recommendations that may raise non-union city workers’ salaries.

By Cathleen Twardzik

At a recent Legislative Matters Committee, as a Committee of the Whole meeting, a possible pay raise for non-union City of Somerville employees was discussed.

At present, that pay raise has not been approved because “the proposal remains in committee,” said Thomas P. Champion, Executive Director of Communications and Cable of the City of Somerville.

A vote at the meeting was deferred regarding “the recommendations [of] the Municipal Compensation Advisory Board (MCAB) and additional information [was requested] before taking up the matter at [the] next meeting on October 16,” said Champion.

“The City of Somerville entered into an agreement with the Edward J. Collins Jr. Center for Public Management at the University of Massachusetts Boston, Collins Center, to conduct a Classification and Compensation Study of approximately 150 non-union positions. The Collins center project team met with the city’s Working Group to fine tune the scope of the project,” according to a formal document regarding the pay raise issue.

After having finalized all of the job descriptions and having conducted a salary survey, “it became clear that the salaries in Somerville were well below the average of the comparable municipalities.”  One consequence of paying under the market is high turnover, which costs the city in loss of efficiency, knowledge and training.

“The work [in the MCAB report] has been thorough, deliberate and professional, and the conclusions are well supported by comparative data from other communities and an updated assessment of the requirements and responsibilities of each position studied,” said Mayor Curtatone in a letter.

“Our city’s non-union workforce has endured a six year gap since the last citywide salary adjustment and two years of pay furloughs, while leading the way in accepting a higher share of health insurance premiums. Despite these sacrifices, they have continued to serve the city with energy, devotion and distinction, and confirm our reputation as one of the most innovative and efficient communities in the nation,” said Curtatone.

Somerville incorporated a noteworthy salary contingency fund into the 2012 operational budget to support it. That point is one on which the aldermen have already agreed.

Currently, the issue is if the board will sustain the MCAB’s comprehensive proposal.



14 Responses to “City employees’ pay may be increased”

  1. j. connelly says:

    and just how much did this $tudy Co$t????? Remember when elected officials could function without… outside “studies”, “nationwide searches”, “consultants”, etc.???

    The Aldermen serve in essentially part time positions, so their current rate should remain the same. $24k+ is not a shabby amount for a part time job. The next mayoral election should have a mandate question lowering the pay scale for that position.

  2. Courtney O'Keefe says:

    The longer this pay increase is not approved, the further Somerville falls back in the job retention market.

    As an active member of my community, I find it frustrating to involve a city official into an issue, Magoun Square for example, only to find that 3 months later they have left for more money in another city. Out the door goes all conversations, data, information, and experience.

    This is just at the resident level…I can only imagine the frustration for their coworkers, other department heads, and elected officials.

    I would very much so like to see this get passed as presented by the Collins Center and recommened by the Municipal Compensation Advisory Board.

  3. j. connelly says:

    Sure & where is ALL the money going to come from in these “Tiight Fiscal Times”?????? You cannot cry poor to the public and then just spend…spend..spend as this city does. They want street festivals, development, etc with no money and just keep pushing the city to bankruptcy with Bond Debt.

    Positions have been cut from Prop two n a half and even more in further years. There’s less staff over the years with layoffs & reductions thus all these events require additional overtime. There’s no extra DPW, Firefighters, Police Officers.

    What the hell are these people tripping on???? Come up with a real way to finance without cutting the throats of the taxpayers!!!!!!

  4. A Moore says:

    As for studies j. connelly I think we dealt with a little more common sense back then, something really lacking now and didn’t have to spend money on those studies. We could figure it out for ourselves. I don’t know who they mean by non union for this pay raise so will keep mouth shut until I understand it. My last raise was about 10 years ago and I have less work due to the economy. Just something we have to go through until things get moving in this country. Ditto on the events things. The annoying one was th stupid bike sharring signs in the road for $35000. Like we are not smart enough to know we have to share the road with them. Dumb. Stupid brick crossings you trip over to get accross the street and so much more.

  5. The Wizard says:

    And don’t forget that these highly paid part time Aldermen get the same health insurance coverage that full time city workers get.

  6. j. connelly says:

    Yes you are correct “A. Moore”. When I walk in Davis Square I have to be very observant not only to check for missing or loose bricks but also one’s that may have a string attached to them by one of my “admirers” at City Hall…LOL I also find the parking meters at times to be something to hold on to as the wild bicyclist comes raging through the sidewalk areas.

  7. Sour shoe says:

    OMgawd, you are such a punctuation abuser!!!!

    The $tudy cost $42,000, according to an article in the SJ.
    The city joined the Mass GIC on 1/1/12, which is said to save the city $7-$9 million this year alone. Throats are not being cut, the $aving$ reaped by switch to the Group Insurance Commission is ultimately derived by city employees paying a larger slice of their health care

  8. Courtney O'Keefe says:

    “And don’t forget that these highly paid part time Aldermen get the same health insurance coverage that full time city workers get.”

    Not all the Aldermen partake in the city’s health plan. Some have plans of their own through their job. If they do participate, it’s the GIC-which sucks.

  9. Shannon says:

    Lets not talk about how much our alderman make. In cambridge their council people make $70,000 and have an assistant. So, our alderman make 25,000 and have full time job. We have great alderman.

  10. j. connelly says:

    Wow the city saves $7-$9 million this year alone. Over the decades with layoffs/staff reductions (except for hackdom positions which increased)
    the city Saved hundred$ of million$..

    Did our taxes go down..NO! Did they refill any of the positions lost..NO!
    Why…Because the elected officials only know how to spend those saved dollars instead of paying down debt.

    You can bet that the $7-$9 million dollars saved this year on insurance will be wasted for a “pet project” or to assist one of the mayor’s “developer buddies”

    On Joe’s Lynch’s Real Estate Special on SCAT pushing Maxwell Green,
    The developer offers the mayor use of their gym facilities, a gross ethical violation. You did not see the mayor decline the offer! Somerville has a history of doing this and it will continue until the feds crack down on them.

  11. j. connelly says:

    Cambridge is a whole different ballgame. Their mayor is basically an honorary title for ceremonial purposes. Their City Manager runs the city along with their City Council, which puts in a lot more time than our Aldermen. Our Aldermen who do a fair job when not rubber stamping the mayor’s requests. No part time job should pay more than $24,000 a year. Especially when they are repeatedly saying we are hurting financially and that is apparently not going to change for the next several years according to the finance experts.

    Cambridge also gets payment in lieu of taxes from the tax exempt universities in their city, $18+ million dollars. Somerville does not.

    The “T” used to plow/sand the city streets that their bus routes operated on in the winter, Broadway, Medford St., Highland Ave, Somerville Ave, Elm/Holland Sts., etc. Which at least assisted the snow removal costs. Today they do not, except for maybe their bus turnaround at Clarendon Hill.

    So there is no real legitimate comparision.

  12. MarketMan says:

    Perhaps we need to look into a full time city council. How does some one working part time, with a potentially full time job on the side, do an adequate job?

  13. The Wizard says:

    Joey Cupcakes sure took care of himself in the pay raise department. Is he going to give his BFF JR a raise also?

  14. j. connelly says:

    you can bet when the mayor was at one of the BOA meetings & they went into “Executive Session” session they were working on how to get this through.
    When politicians go into “Executive Session” you know it’s just a ploy to get something done that will benefit themselves.
    Look at those “sessions” in D.C. where our members of congress were getting “insider trading” info on what stocks & real estate deals to get into…they have all become millionaires while on our payroll.

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