Marchese leading the fight to right the wrong
By Josh Resnek
There is a great deal of Christmas cheer making the rounds of the city this year.
Christmas is about giving presents.
However, Councilor Mike Marchese is leading a fight to take a present away from the mayor.
The present? It is what Councilor Fred Capone has called a fraud – that is – the contrived payment of $40,000 a year to the mayor for a longevity payment that is questionable at the very least and a fraud, as Capone has labelled it, at the very worst.
“We’re going to reintroduce the issue of the $40,000 a year longevity payment in order to eliminate it,” Marchese told the Leader Herald Monday morning.
At the request of the council last week, the city clerk was ordered to ask the Attorney General for an opinion about the questionable longevity payment.
The payment, as it is supposed to work, should give the mayor $2,500 a year per term for the mayoral terms he has finished.
Instead, the mayor has received about $190,000 in longevity payments that do not show up in the published city budget.
Marchese claims the payment is hidden in the city budget where no one but those who hid it can find it.
Capone said last week he considers the situation a fraud on the taxpayers.
In addition, Capone said the money ought to be paid back and the longevity should be eliminated as the mayor’s salary already comes in at $191,000 a year plus a $6,000 car allowance.
With the longevity added on, the mayor is the highest paid mayor in the state of Massachusetts.
Law enforcement so far does not appear to have questioned any of the longevity payments despite being apprised of them about two months ago.