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Top pay for part-timers

By Matt Byrne
Globe Correspondent / April 8, 2012
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No member of the Medford City Council earned enough to make the list of the city’s top 100 earners, but councilors take home a tidy sum for their part-time posts.

President Robert A. Maiocco earned the highest amount, with $30,519.84 in gross pay during fiscal 2011, followed by vice president Frederick N. Dello Russo Jr. at $28,729.32.

Four councilors - Paul A. Camuso, Breanna Lungho-Koehn, Michael J. Marks, and Robert M. Penta - each were paid $27,529.32 in fiscal 2011, according to records provided by the city. One councilor, Mark J. Arena, who is no longer in office, earned $23,717.56.

In contrast, each of the 11 members of the Malden City Council takes home $17,500. In Somerville, 11 aldermen earn $25,000 each in addition to about $3,100 for communication and clerical expenses, according to city ordinances and a Somerville spokesman.

Until this year, Medford City Council pay was divided into base salary and expense pay. The expense payments in fiscal 2011 ranged from $8,400.08 for Maiocco, to $6,720, collected by Arena. The other five councilors each took home $7,800 for expenses.

But Maiocco said the ordinance governing pay was corrected in February, abolishing the division, even if it existed only on paper.

“There are no more expenses now. The ordinance was changed several weeks ago,’’ Maiocco said. “That was all taxable income.’’

Stephanie M. Burke, the city’s director of personnel and budget, said the accounting change “cleans up’’ the books and has no impact on the councilors’ pay.

“They’re making the same amount of money,’’ Burke said. “Now, no one’s looking at that line and saying, ‘Oh you got that in travel, in expense?’ Now it’s one line item.’’

She said the term “expense’’ was left over from years past, when councilors were paid two checks, one with taxes withheld for their base pay, and one for the expenses with no taxes removed. A Department of Revenue review several years ago halted the practice, Maiocco said. No councilor has been paid untaxed income for at least five years, he estimated, and all council compensation is now taxed up front.

In the same February ordinance change, the councilors declined to give themselves a pay raise but approved retroactive increases of 2 percent and 3 percent for 39 non-union employees covering the last two years.

An additional 4 percent increase is set to take effect July 1 for the same group, which includes department heads and other managers who do not collectively bargain for their salaries.

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