Starting next year, Braintree's mayor will have a salary of $125,000, a bump of $20,000 from the position's current pay that will last until the Town Council votes again in the future.
The new salary was approved by the council Tuesday night and will land next on the desk of Mayor Joseph Sullivan. He has declined to discuss the issue in the past and was not in attendance during the meeting.
Councilors debated the merits and parameters of a raise for seven months before deciding on the increase. The $125,000 figure, recommended by the Committee on Ways & Means, came from combining incremental raises based on the Consumer Price Index to the mayor's base pay through 2014 and adding several thousand dollars, Councilor Henry Joyce said.
"That was the compromise that was reached after long debate," said Councilor John Mullaney, who last July.
On the final motion for the new salary, councilors Charles Kokoros, Charles Ryan, Mullaney, Leland Dingee, Tom Bowes and Joyce voted in favor, and Paul "Dan" Clifford and Sean Powers voted against. Ronald DeNapoli was absent.
Other proposals that did not move forward included that tagged the mayor's pay to the high end of a professional management scale. Dingee said that he would bring the gradual raise portion of his proposal back to committee for discussion so that future increases can avoid politicization.
Clifford, chair of Ways & Means, presented a salary of $117,890 on Tuesday night, based on the average annual 2 percent increases that have been negotiated in past years by Braintree's unions.
The proposal would have avoided "unintended consequences," Clifford said.
For example, the $125,000 figure represents a 3.13 percent annual increase from the current $105,000 salary. The extra percentage of increase over the average union negotiated raise spread out over the town's payroll could cost an extra $1.9 million over three years if the unions demanded and received the extra percentage, according to an anaylsis compiled by Town Auditor Eric Kinsherf.
"It isn't a fact it's going to happen" but it should be considered, Clifford said.
The idea was dimissed by some, however. Former Town Meeting member and tax collector Vincent Joyce, speaking during the public hearing Tuesday, said that $125,000 was a "fair figure."
"It comes down to less than a dollar [per taxpayer]," Joyce said. "It's peanuts."
Mullaney called the "unintended consquences" analysis "garbage."
"You're making an assumption that if we give the mayor a salary that same percentage would be given to union employees," Mullaney said.
If signed by the mayor, the new salary will take effect in January 2014. The mayor may also not sign and also not return an ordinance to the council and it will take effect automatically after 10 days, according to the Town Charter.