Feeling Dismayed – Council refuses to cut expense accounts and longevity bonuses

April 30, 2009
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By a vote of 9-2, the Revere City Council decided against cutting its $600 a month expense account and longevity bonuses for some of its members, amounting to tens of thousands of dollars.

Only Councillor-at-Large George Colella voted for the cuts, along with Ward Councillor George Rotondo. Also, to his credit, Council President Dan Rizzo –although he voted for the retention of expense account money and longevity payments – had pleaded with his colleagues to put off the vote in order to better assess where the city will be financially when it is made clear how much money it will receive from the state.

Rizzo made it clear that cuts would be meaningful during this time of fiscal crisis.

The failure of the council to contribute its expense account money and longevity payments to the city treasury instead of to themselves is what the voters of Revere have come to expect from their elected public officials – and this isn’t meant to be derisive.

Voters here have shown little to no public concern over what their elected public officials are paid and what they receive in addition to their basic salaries and benefits.

Revere voters tend to be quiet about such issues.

The only time Revere voters get noisy – so to speak – is at the polls when they have the chance to change leadership.

The last time that happened was when Mayor Thomas Ambrosino defeated four-term Mayor Robert Haas.

Haas’ time had come. He ran a good campaign, but no matter what he did, he was destined to lose because the city was clamoring for a change.

At the council level, it is difficult to know what the voters are thinking.

There is only a relative handful of newcomers running for the council this time around, which seems to prove that voters aren’t so outraged that they want to get rid of everyone serving and start all over.

On the contrary, the body politic here is steady and fairly solid. People aren’t quick to make judgments or to change their minds about their candidates.

This is why so many councilors are elected over and over, time and again.

This is why so few candidates take on incumbents.

That being said, in a perfect world, it would have been gratifying to hear all the councillors say to the voters that they are giving up their expense accounts and the longevity payments.

The city can surely use the money.

But Revere is not a perfect world.

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