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Salary Hike for Braintree Mayor Voted Against in Committee, Town Council to Consider

The next Braintree Town Council meeting is Aug. 14 at Town Hall.

A proposal to increase the salary of Braintree's mayor by $25,000 failed to garner the support of a subcommittee on Tuesday night, with those arguing against the hike citing its size and ongoing economic uncertainty.

District 2 Councilor John Mullaney that would change the mayor's pay from its current $105,000 per year to $130,000, an increase that would take effect in 2014 following the next town election.

Mullaney, a member of the Committee on Ordinance & Rules, urged his fellow councilors on Tuesday to support the measure in order to alter "a salary that is not commensurate with the responsibilities [the mayor] carries."

He pointed to like-sized communities such as Chelsea, Lexington, Natick and Chelmsford, all of which employ chief executives paid more than $150,000 annually, to demonstrate that Braintree's top position should have a more competitive salary.

"I don't want it to be a position where you get a low salary and take tips anywhere else," Mullaney said. "I hope our salary is one that will draw out the best and brightest in Braintree."

The mayor's $105,000 salary was set at the same time as Braintree's new charter more than four years ago. On a list of the highest paid Braintree employees, Mayor Joseph Sullivan sits at number 79, his six-figure salary also pushed down by those earning overtime and public safety detail pay.

Both committee chair Sean Powers and member Paul "Dan" Clifford voted not to recommend the ordinance. Councilor Leland Dingee was absent. The full council is scheduled to take it up at its next meeting on Aug. 14. 

Clifford said that the council should have more time to study the issue and consider other alternatives such as setting a base salary with performance bonuses "rather than setting a stake in the ground and saying x-number of dollars."

He and Powers also argued that the economic situation might make residents question such a large pay hike. "In this climate, with as many people that are out of work," Clifford said, "just the image it would send I don't think would be a favorable one at this time."

On the contrary, Mullaney said, the economy of Massachusetts and Braintree in particular is improving. "We're creating job growth" with developments such as those at the , and , Mullaney said. "This town is booming."

The mayor's position is also different than those of other town employees, Mullaney said, because the mayor's reviews take place every four years by election.

The Braintree Charter allows the  to adopt an ordinance changing the mayor's salary during the first 18 months of a term, such as the one that began in January. Any new salary would take effect the January following the next regular town election, which is in fall 2013.

Joseph Markman August 01, 2012 at 09:34 PM
As of the 2010 federal census, Braintree's population was 35,744. The base salaries of those employees vary widely. Overtime is considerable for some, but the driving force behind much of their high earnings is detail pay for police officers.
Joseph Markman August 01, 2012 at 09:42 PM
A number of those base salaries are listed in this previous article: http://braintree.patch.com/articles/councilor-calls-for-salary-increase-for-braintree-s-mayor Note: at the time that article was written, Mullaney's proposal was at $125K, which he subsequently revised to $130K.
Jennifer DC August 01, 2012 at 10:51 PM
It is common for the mayor not to be the highest paid employee, isn't it? I'm more persuaded by the mayors' salaries in nearby localities than I am by what rank he is in the town. If there are so many police making six figure salaries, maybe they need to hire more police and give less overtime. 110-115 seems reasonable, given the data in the article. Braintree is a lot smaller than Quincy and a lot less wealthy than Milton.
Kathleen DeWitt August 02, 2012 at 03:16 AM
Jen, the reason the cops are making big salaries is because of the details that require them for public safety. They are paid by the company that hired them to do the detail . (e.g. National grid, Landers, to name a few. It costs a lot of $ to hire new cops. (The benefits, health ins. Etc.). I don't know if it's common or not for the Mayors salary to be so low on the totum pole. Braintree is a lot smaller than Quincy and a lot less wealthier than Milton, but during the day we have almost 100,000 people in town, between the Plaza, the smaller malls and all the business that is here. So for what he is in charge of , I believe he should be making more $. After all it is a 24/7 job. Nanakate.
Kelly August 03, 2012 at 04:04 PM
This discussion reminds me that the town should be hiring "flag men" like other states do. These flag men are trained and are paid less than police details and take their job seriously. 9 out of 10 times that I have seen a police detail in this town the cop is either on the phone or chit chatting with the Verizon or BELD employee! What a joke!!! If the town elimnated police details then we would have money to hire new teachers or re-furbish the empty schools to ease overcrowding. But unfortunately we live in a state that gives more clout to corrupt politicians and unions than to their citizens.

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