NORTH ADAMS — The City Council on Tuesday took an initial vote, without debate, to pass a compensation plan that would include a nearly $10,000 raise to the mayor’s salary.
If approved with a second vote at a future meeting, the mayor’s pay would increase from $88,470 to $98,000 on July 1, the start of the next fiscal year.
The issue has come up at previous council meetings. Almost a year ago, Councilor Marie Harpin suggested that the mayor’s salary increase to $95,000 a year starting Jan. 1, 2022, citing her concern about pay dissuading possible candidates from running for the job, but the idea was voted down.
Earlier this month, the council’s Finance Committee voted unanimously to recommend the council approve the classification and compensation plan after Mayor Jennifer Macksey presented it, according to meeting minutes. In the past 14 years, the mayor’s salary has only been increased once by about $4,000, Finance Committee Chair Keith Bona said. “Ten thousand dollars sounds like a lot, but it’s one of the higher salaries,” he said after the meeting.
Other changes in the proposed classification and compensation plan include: Changing a title in the Community Development department, adding a grants and communications specialist position to the mayor’s office, and increasing pay for several positions to $15 per hour, which will be minimum wage in 2023. Overall, compensation increased by 1.5 percent from the previous year’s plan, Macksey told the council.
More pay changes could be ahead. A grant-funded study is analyzing city employee pay and comparing it to other municipalities, Macksey said, adding that she expects it will be done by fall — too late to incorporate it into the coming fiscal year’s budget.
“We were hopeful we would receive it in time for the budget, but it got started too late,” Macksey said.
Harpin worries low pay is making it difficult to fill open positions.
“The salaries throughout the city are low, if you look at them and compare them,” she said. “I think we’re having a difficult time hiring people because of that.”