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Loyal lieutenant’s hard work repaid with slashed salary


Let’s face it, no one working for the city except for police officers putting their lives on the line with gun toting criminals or firefighters risking their lives to save those trapped inside burning buildings, not many city employees are going to die of heart attacks from overwork or from dangerous encounters.

There are some in city government who do more than their fair share.

One of those is the mayor’s chief of staff, Kevin O’Donnell.

He can be tough. He knows his place. He quietly and efficiently carries out the mayor’s requests whatever they are whenever he makes them.

He is one of the mayor’s most loyal lieutenants. O’Donnell’s position is demanding. It is also frustrating. In the absence of a mayor who works, the day to day job of putting out fires inside the mayor’s office often falls onto his shoulders.

That is not only the work, but the responsibility of the administration to meet the demands of residents and taxpayers who go to the mayor’s office wanting something, nearly every hour of every day, only to find them mayor isn’t there.

O’Donnell fills that gap.

Or at least he used to fill that gap.

Last week, the mayor cut O’Donnell’s pay in half, from $80,000 a year to $40,000 a year.

O’Donnell would never say a public word about this but I know he is upset– and with good reason.

With this cut in his salary the mayor has told him outright, in the plainest simplest language, “Kevin, you’re a great guy. But I don’t really need you anymore.”

That’s a tough pill to swallow for a close ally of the mayor who holds many se- crets about him.

Many of us are left to wonder why the mayor chose to crush O’Donnell’s ego and to hurt his feelings cutting his salary in half.

Perhaps it is because others in the mayor’s orbit are rising while folks like O’Donnell are fading away.

In recent months, the mayor hired a female lawyer to be on his mayoral staff.

Assistant city solicitor, library chief and mayoral aid Matt Lattanzi was already added to the staff.

Then there is Tom Philbin, the senior member of the group protecting the mayor from himself and from his inadequacies.

Philbin is a classy guy. He keeps his mouth shut. He is loyal. He is the only staff member of the mayor’s inner circle who tells the mayor the truth, which is usually and exactly what he doesn’t want to hear.

Again and again, the mayor comes to remind many of us of President Trump. It is the mayor’s way or no way. I am not certain if Philbin’s salary has been cut, which would be another indication of the changing musical chair game always being played by the mayor.

O’Donnell’s days are likly numbered.

The mayor’s office is responsible for about $1.5 million in city salaries being paid.

If he’s cut his office bud- get by 10%, and O’Donnell’s pay cut adds up to $40,000 of that amount, the big question in city hall circles is who else got pay cuts and how much?

In the meantime, O’Donnell has apparently not yet resigned.

As my wealthiest uncle would have said to me: “Josh, you don’t find $40,000 in the street.”

I would expect he will tell the mayor in his own inimitable style just where to go.

Then he’ll be gone, and after a short while, forgotten – like everyone else hired and then cut and finally fired by him.

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