By Paula Steriti and Josh Resnek
Mayor DeMaria was allowed to cash in sick days and vacation days twice and received $20,000 “buy-back”payments twice on separate dates and then was issued a $40,000 longevity payment from a Human Resources money account without the payment being noted in the city budget.
A Leader Herald investigation reveals that the two $20,000 “buy-back” payments were credited to the mayor.
The first $20,000 payment was credited to the mayor on January 21, 2021.
The second $20,000 payment was credited to the mayor on January April 29, 2021
An investigation into how and why the payment was made began with a search of the city budget.
The payment did not show up in the mayor’s office budget section.
Following a public information request, the payment was shown to have been made from a Human Resources account – not with a $40,000 entry, rather, with two $20,000 entries, and there was no name attached to the payments, according to official spread sheets provided by the city of Everett.
That money was apparently put into a Human Resources account, and then $40,000 was given to the mayor from that account.
The city budget did not list the mayor receiving the $40,000.
In addition, the mayor is not provided with traditional vacation days, according to the Everett city charter.
The mayor sets his own work schedule.
How the mayor was paid two $20,000 buy backs for vacation days becomes a moot point when the mayor has no official vacation schedule according to the city charter.
During the past three years, it is believed the mayor took at least six trips to Aruba, several trips to Arizona and several trips to Florida.
The Leader Herald estimates the mayor has taken at least 200 days of vacation during the past three years.
The question arises – how was the mayor able to buy back vacation days that do not nominally exist for a city employee who goes way beyond the standard for taking days off while retaining his full salary?
Chief Financial Officer Eric Demas is believed to be the architect behind this $40,000 yearly payment being made to the may- or from the Human Resources account without proper notice, or any notice at all in the city budget.
Ther Leader Herald reached out to Demas. He was asked to respond to the following questions:.
“Can you explain why the mayor’s longevity payment for 2021 was made in two separate $20,000 credits listed as buy backs that were then distributed to the mayor from a Human Resources account without any name attached to them?
“Can you explain why the mayor’s name was hidden from the payments totaling $40,000 made to the mayor?
“Is this a special accounting process the public is not aware of?
“Do you believe the mayor owes the $180,000 he has previously received in questionable or illegal “longevity” payments that were not listed in the city budget? Does the fact the mayor refused to take the longevity payment this year prove the payments were illegal?
“Do you stand by the “secret” payments made to the mayor?” Demas did not respond to the Leader Herald.