City Councillors and Mayor Dan Rizzo continued their pointed discussions on Monday about substantial raises that have been requested for three non-union City Hall employees.
Last week, Rizzo submitted a late communication calling for an ordinance change that would give raises to four employees who were believed not to be part of a union. Two of those raises amounted to increases of more than $20,000 a year, with one being for nearly $40,000 a year. It was greeted with no small amount of shock from the councillors, and councillors this week maintained that the votes are not there now to approve the pay raise ordinance change.
Those raises broke down like this:
•City Clerk Ashley Melnik $98,427 (2012 = $74,525 )
•DPW Superintendent Don Goodwin, $99,990 (2012 = $89,990)
•Director of Finance George Anzuoni, $150,000 (2012 = $113,680)
•City Solicitor Paul Capizzi, $82,468 (2012 = $70,753)
One important change this week was Goodwin being removed from the list of those slated for a raise, as he actually is a member of a union. So, there are now only three employees scheduled to be part of that ordinance change.
Rizzo said on Monday night that the administration would likely enter into some impact bargaining outside of this process to give Goodwin some new consideration.
Meanwhile, Rizzo told the Council that he did not mean to blindside anyone with last week’s request.
“I heard that I blindsided people,” he said. “I only asked for a public hearing. I’m up here simply to treat our employees fairly…I’m not advocating for a raise for myself. I’m advocating for a raise for employees of this City who work hard every day and have not gotten raises for years and years and years because they are not part of a collective bargaining unit…I’m going to stand up for them. We collectively have to look at it and determine what’s fair and what isn’t. These are difficult times…I like to put myself in other people’s shoes and if I were these employees, I would at least like to be on par with my colleagues.”
Rizzo said that he will share with Councillor Brian Arrigo’s Ways and Means Committee a salary study that he conducted, and which was the genesis of the drive to get the pay raises approved. That study apparently indicates that many similar employees in surrounding cities are paid much higher than in Revere.
Ward 5 Candidate Al Terminiello was the only member of the public that stood in opposition to the request.
“I think what they are deserving of is the 2 percent or 4 percent that everyone else got with no retroactive considerations,” he said. “Anyone working out there in the private sector will tell you that nothing like this would ever happen. They’re told they don’t get any raise and if they don’t like it, they can leave. There’s not much out there in the private sector, so people stay because there’s not much there.”
Councillors Richard Penta and Charlie Patch spoke in favor of the increases, saying the workers singled out deserved it for their hard work.
“It should have happened years ago,” said Penta.
Later, he added that the workers have probably not seen more than a nickel raise in years.
“Better than nothing,” Councillor Bob Haas retorted loudly while putting his hands up in the air.
“Better than nothing,” he repeated.
Haas also said maybe the requests – or some version of them – could be accomplished within the City Budget, which is due out in week or two. He said he did not care for having such a request put on the laps of the Council within a late communication ordinance change.
Councillor John Correggio said he was not in favor of the change in any way, and was not inclined to change his mind.
Most of the rest of the Council was mum on the issue, saving their comments for committee discussions. Nevertheless, some on the Council indicated privately that the matter does not have the votes to pass now, but that a tremendous lobbying campaign is underway.
Council President Ira Novoselsky said the matter would be in committee and that there were no time limits to get it done. Last week, he indicated it would likely come to a vote in early June. Now, it appears that the matter will stay in committee as the inside discussions evolve.