“He owes $160,000. He ought to pay it back,” said Councilor at Large Mike Marchese.
By Josh Resnek
The question about whether or not the mayor’s longevity payments are justified or not, legal or not, overblown or not, will be coming to a head at next week’s city council meeting.
Councilor’s Fred Capone has asked that the mayor be stripped of the longevity payments – and by default – is asking that the money already paid out be paid back.
“As far as I’m concerned, the mayor owes the city $160,000 for longevity payments he never should have received,” said Councilor at Large Mike Marchese.
The mayor has not answered charges raised by the Boston Globe and the Leader Herald questioning the $40,000 yearly longevity payment he has been receiving. So far, he has received $160,000.
“I’d like to get the city’s CFO Eric Demas up to the meeting to let us know where exactly the mayor’s $40,000 yearly longevity payment is buried in the so-called award winning budget. The item can’t be found in a simple reading of the city budget. The law demands such a payment to be public. It is hidden in another account somewhere. Everyone should know where it is coming from and who else is benefiting from secret payments?” Marchese asked.
The longevity payment mystery – that is – how does the mayor collect $40,000 yearly when all he should be collecting is something closer to $2,500 a year?
“Demas needs to answer the question honestly. No fiscal double talk to protect this outrageous benefit given to the mayor. The buck stops with Demas and the mayor on this issue,” Marchese added.
Efforts to reach the mayor for comment were unsuccessful.
To date, the mayor has not commented on the longevity payment other than for others working in the mayor’s office and in the city solicitor’s office to say that everything seems legal and perfectly OK.
Capone called the payment “asinine.” Marchese said
“it should be paid back.”
The Boston Globe did an investigative report two weeks ago on the longevity payment.
In that report, the Globe indicated the mayor is the highest paid mayor in the state and that he received $236,000 in salary which included the longevity payment of $40,000.
City Clerk Sergio Cornelio reported the payment to the FBI as “possibly illegal,” the Globe reported.
A spokes person for the mayor apparently told the Globe everything was done legally.
“The mayor got no special treatment. The longevity payment was approved by the city council and the city solicitor,” the Globe reported the mayor’s aid said.
Next week, Capone will try to have the longevity payment suspended and Marchese will ask for the $160,000 to be repaid.
What the rest of the council will do is anyone’s guess.
A number of councilors who wished to remain unnamed said they believed the longevity payment of $40,000 is all wrong.
“I would be embarrassed to take a payment like that,” said a city councilor who wished to remain unnamed.