Mayor Carolyn Kirk's $84.6 million fiscal 2013 budget proposal, on track for a 3 percent overall spending increase, includes average annual raises of roughly 15 percent for city department heads — with one incumbent official in line for a boost of more than $23,000 or 29 percent.
City officials say the raises put upper-level managers' pay on par with the surrounding communities and will help retain qualified staff members.
The proposed raises fall into higher pay ranges that were part of a salary restructuring approved by city councilors in March. While the positions fall into the new ranges, Councilor Paul McGeary said, they're a lot closer to the top part of the range than he would like. Kirk's budget is still subject to City Council approval.
"While it's literally true they didn't go into the top ranges, (some) are in the fourth quintile," said McGeary, who chairs the council's Budget and Finance subcommittee.
As an example, the salary for Jim Duggan, the mayor's chief administrative officer, was hiked from a range of $74,194 to $87,769 to one between $91,806 and $108,578.
Last year, Duggan made $81,184. Kirk's budget proposal pegs him at $104,715 — a 29 percent increase.
He vowed that the mayor's budget with its salary hikes isn't going to pass through the council's Budget and Finance subcommittee unscathed.
"It's not going to sail through," he said.
Kirk's budget also raises City Solicitor Suzanne Egan's salary from $87,481 to $103,171, an 18 percent increase. The council moved the solicitor's pay scale from $83,091 to $98,310 to a range of $91,806 to $108,578.
Duggan and Egan's positions and the Fire and Police Chief positions had the highest percent increase this year.
When the council approved the reclassification packet, which included a litany of management positions from Health Director to Harbormaster, councilors said the administration should budget positions with room to grow.
Duggan and Personnel Director David Bain put together the reclassification packet. He said the mayor's proposal allows for multiple years of growth for the department head positions. Those positions, he said, haven't been re-examined in 11 years.
By comparison, however, the city's unions — including the firefighters' and patrolmen's unions — received around a 2 percent increase this year, with the firefighters' getting 5.5 percent over three years to make up for no raises in fiscal 2019 and 2011. Other employees, Duggan said, have negotiating abilities that aren't available to the managers. Some of whom have been stuck without growth potential.
"We are behind other communities," he said. "And as a result we lost an important team member in our previous Information Technologies director."
He said the city's former IT director left for another municipality with better pay and growth potential. Those opportunities weren't in Gloucester, he said.
When the city administration reclassified the Chief Financial Officer, Auditor, and Public Works Director's positions two years ago, Duggan said it retained Jeff Towne and Mike Hale, DPW director, and attracted Ken Costa, the current city auditor.
The pay levels for Gloucester's fire and police chief positions are targeted for increases of more than $30,000 each in Kirk's Fiscal 2013 budget. Kirk's budget raises the police chief's pay from $80,489 to $115,000. The fire chief's pay was raised from $78,522 to $115,000.
Both of those positions, however, are now effectively vacant, with acting Fire Chief Steve Aiello currently being paid at an annual rate of $104,000. Interim Police Chief Mike Lane is earning $81,000. The city, however, is poised to choose a new permanent fire chief within the next two weeks, with a Police Chief Search Committee now underway as well. Councilors reclassified the police chief and fire chief's positions, moving the range of pay from $83,091 to $98,310 to a range between $100,302 and $118,572.
Kirk's budget would also raise Building Inspector Bill Sanborn's pay from $66,645 to $79,900. City Clerk Linda Lowe's salary from $75,479 to $79,722, while the IT director's salary would go from $75,474 to $80,676.
Purchasing Agent Donna Compton's salary would increase from $66,550 to $76,241 and Costa's pay went from $85,242 to $94,388. Kirk's budget would raise Library Director Carol Grey's salary from $69,550 to $79,724.
Gloucester funded Public Health Director Noreen Burke's salary with $42,900 for the last five months of this fiscal year after hiring her in February. That position would be funded for the full year at $82,135 in Kirk's proposal.
The proposal also would raise DPW chief Hale's salary from $111,152 to $120,945, and Chief Financial Officer Towne's salary could go from $107,887 to $113,894.
Gloucester's personnel director's position and some positions in the Community Development Department were the only slots where Kirk's budget didn't immediately project salary increases.
Personnel Director David Bain will retire before the end of the fiscal year. Bain's salary was set at $75,474. A new director won't be hired until October, Duggan said, and will be paid $61,521 for the remainder of the year.
The city has also slowed down implementing a new Community Development Department as well.
Currently, Duggan said, Planning Director Gregg Cadematori is serving as acting community development director. Former Community Development Director Sarah Garcia was moved into the Seaport Bond funded Harbor Planning Director's position in April.
Duggan said the city won't hire a new development director until January 1, and won't hire the economic development director until next April. The total cost of the re-organization for Fiscal 2013, Kirk said, is about $69,000.
Steven Fletcher may be contacted at 1-978-283-7000 x3455, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stevengdt.