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Raymondi quits City Council, takes Quincy DPW post

By Jessica Bartlett
Globe Correspondent / July 10, 2011

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Quincy City Councilor Daniel Raymondi has officially accepted a newly created position as Department of Public Works commissioner that pays $110,000, delivering him a salary increase of nearly $90,000 a year.

Raymondi, who made $22,300 annually as a Ward 2 city councilor, started his new job last Tuesday, after being sworn in by that morning by Mayor Thomas Koch, said mayoral spokesman Christopher Walker.

In the wake of Raymondi’s resignation, the City Council will hold a special meeting Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. to elect an interim member to serve until the city election in November.

The seat must be filled within 15 days of an absence, council president Kevin Coughlin said. Applicants should send a letter of interest to the City Clerk Joseph Shea or e-mail jshea@quincyma.gov by 4 p.m. tomorrow in order to be considered for the position.

Candidates must present themselves to the council at the special meeting and will have three minutes to address the council.

According to Coughlin, however, applicants who are planning to run for the councilor seat long-term should abstain from seeking the interim position.

“I do not want nor do I want the council to put their thumb on the scale for a successor to Councilor Raymondi. The public should choose who their councilor should be without giving a leg up to any potential or existing candidate,’’ Coughlin said. “Hopefully, my colleagues feel the same way.’’

Koch cited the numerous ongoing projects in the city as the main reasons for hiring Raymondi, who served 22 years on the City Council: the downtown redevelopment, construction of a new Central Middle School, the almost-complete Concourse, and a $25 million capital improvement plan.

Current commissioner Larry Prendeville will become superintendent of public works. He now will focus on day-to-day operations and Raymondi will handle administrative functions.

Koch, who has been criticized for giving what some see as a superfluous role to an unqualified councilor, stood behind his decision as he made the announcement of Raymondi’s acceptance last week.

“I cannot think of someone who has more history, more experience, and more passion for this city than Dan Raymondi to handle the increasing administrative demands of the Department of Public Works,’’ Koch said in a statement.

Mayoral candidate Anne Mahoney released a statement blasting the mayor for his choice and calling the arrangement a “million-dollar pension grab.’’ She had asked the mayor to withdraw his offer to Raymondi weeks ago.

“Assuming Councilor Raymondi receives a pension for 25 years, his original pension would have come to a total of $1.2 million; by accepting this blatant patronage appointment, his pension will skyrocket to $2.2 million - that’s an extra million dollars for just three years of work. It’s highway robbery of the taxpayers, pure and simple,’’ Mahoney said in a release.

If Raymondi stays in the position for at least three years, Raymondi’s pension would increase to $88,000 a year from $48,000. The pension is based on a city employee’s three highest earning years. Prior to the DPW job, Raymondi’s pension would have been based on his $60,000-a-year salary as Norfolk county treasurer. He was treasurer from 1985 to 1990.

The criticism has done little to sway Raymondi, who said he is eager to take over the job and is looking forward to whatever challenges it may bring.

Jessica Bartlett can be reached at jessica.may.bartlett@gmail.com.