PITTSFIELD -- Ward 5 Councilor Jonathan Lothrop is proposing that School Committee members be paid and councilors receive a raise as part of a salary hike proposal being considered for department heads and other city employees.
Lothrop said that, "in the interest of fairness," he is proposing that councilors receive a $2,000 raise in their annual pay and that School Committee members receive 50 percent of a councilor's pay -- which would equal $5,000.
Noting that a raise for two other elected city positions -- the mayor and city clerk -- were included in a salary schedule submitted last month by Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi. Lothrop said he believes councilors and committee members should be added to that list.
Having made the suggestion during council discussions on the mayor's proposal, Lothrop said Thursday he had hoped another councilor might make that a formal motion for consideration.
"I thought I might as well do it," he said. "No one else stepped forward."
Lothrop's petition is on the council's meeting agenda for Tuesday evening.
Councilors, who now receive $8,000 annually ($10,000 for the council president) haven't had a raise in 20 years, Lothrop said, adding that his proposal to add another $2,000 to each figure represents a raise of 1 percent per year.
In the old city government charter, which was replaced by a new version through voter approval in the November election, School Committee members could not be compensated. Now they can be paid, with the approval of the mayor and council.
Lothrop said the current situation is unfair to committee members, who also have to make a serious commitment to their positions.
If approved, the raises would take effect after the next city election in 2015, he said, and the committee salaries would not include benefits such as health insurance.
The mayor's proposal to upgrade salaries for department heads, managers and other city employees not represented by employee unions is still being reviewed by the council's Ordinance and Rules Committee, which will make a recommendation to the full council.
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