The next mayor and City Council will earn 5 percent less than the seven people currently holding the city’s top political offices.
The City Council voted unanimously this week to slash its pay – and the mayor’s $102,000 a year salary – for whoever wins election in November.
It has no way to reduce pay sooner because of a law prohibiting councilors from revising their own salaries until after the next election.
Mayor Art Ward, who proposed the cut, said that Bristol’s leaders need to show leadership “and set the direction” at a time when they’re asking municipal unions to make contract concessions in a bid to close a $1.8 million budget gap for the coming fiscal year.
City Councilor Ken Cockayne said he is “very happy” the mayor decided to support a reduction in pay after voting two months ago merely to freeze salaries in the next term.
This week’s vote covered only the mayor and council, not the part-time city treasurer or the Board of Assessment Appeals, who would have been included in the 3 percent pay cut proposed in March by city Councilor Cliff Block.
City Councilor Mike Rimcoski, who opposed a pay cut earlier this year, said he could vote for this one because it didn’t target anyone but the council and mayor.
The council also voted to freeze the pay of the treasurer and assessment panelists next term.
Also facing a wage freeze are city workers who aren’t in a union, including some department heads and lawyers.
It isn’t clear yet whether the move will help convince wary city union members to support reductions in their negotiated contracts. Many employees say they are reluctant to reopen deals the city made with them, even if it means layoffs for some.
City finance officials and Ward have indicated that if they can’t find savings through union concessions, they may have to lay off workers if they are going to freeze property taxes this year, as they insist they plan to do.
As many as 30 jobs could be on the on the line, but no list exists to clarify where cuts might be made.
The mayor and council will get a 5 percent cut in the first year of their two-year terms that start in November. The pay rate will remain the same in the second year.
Current pay for city leaders
Mayor - $102,025
City councilors - $10,156
City treasurer - $5,079
Board of Assessment Appeals chair -- $1,343
Board of Assessment Appeals - $1,140
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