John Powers, chair of the City Council’s Ways and Means Subcommittee, will call a rare Friday (5 p.m.) meeting to further discuss the Fiscal Year ’21 budget with Mayor Brian Arrigo.
Powers said that he has additional questions about the budget that he wants to ask the mayor before the Council votes on the budget at its June 29 meeting.
“I want the mayor to advise the Council about some of the changes in some city government administrative positions and the salary increases in these positions where extra responsibilities are being added,” said Powers.
The Ward 5 councillor said this is the first time that he has called a special meeting of his committee on a Friday. During this budget cycle, he has chaired three previous sub-committee meetings to review the budget.
“I think it goes to the heart of transparency – to let not only the general public know, but also the City Council,” said Powers. “There are some councilors, including myself who have questions. The taxpayers have a right to know how their money is being spent.”
Mayor Arrigo said it was important in the Fiscal ‘21 budget “to continue to repair and revitalize the framework of municipal functions.”
“The budget I submitted to the City Council reflects a deliberative and justifiable assessment of the finances it will take to provide a modern municipal government that delivers efficient public service, reliable infrastructure, and full-staffed public safety to all our residents,” said Arrigo. “We have witnessed during the Covid-19 public health crisis that capable, motivated people and modern operational systems are vital to the government’s civic mission. As Revere continues to grow and face new challenges, it is imperative that we maintain high standards in our personnel and continue to repair and revitalize the framework of municipal functions. I look forward to meeting with the City Council to justify and demonstrate the value in our municipal budget. I trust that the Council, once informed, will acknowledge our shared responsibility in serving the people of our city.”
Council President Patrick Keefe also weighed in on “the conversations about the increases in salaries” in the city budget.
“A majority of the increases are contractual and I would be absolutely against not giving people what they [Police, Fire, and union employees] are contractually obligated to receive,” said Keefe. “Some of the councilors were wary about department heads having increased salaries [in the new budget] which I totally understand, but some of those positions have new titles with new responsibilities. You have to find a good balance if you expect someone do more and have more responsibilities and have a bigger role – it would only be natural that they would be compensated for that.
“So we’re just looking for answers and more details from Mayor Arrigo at this meeting on Friday,” said Keefe.
Councillor-at-Large Gerry Visconti said, “This is a difficult budget due to the unforeseen circumstances of COVID-19 and what the state and the country are going through right now. We are in unprecedented times.”