Easthampton may boost salaries for council, school committee

  • Easthampton Municipal Building, 50 Payson Avenue GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 10/21/2022 11:01:32 AM

EASTHAMPTON — City councilors are eyeing a pay increase for future City Council and School Committee members, part of an effort aimed at attracting more diversity to two of the most important political bodies governing the city.

The recommendation, approved by the council’s Finance Committee, calls for a 50% raise for council members — from $4,000 to $6,000 — and a 100% raise for School Committee members, from $2,000 to $4,000. If approved, the stipend increase would start in January 2024 after the next municipal elections.

“The goal of the (Finance) committee is to attract more diversity to the council and School Committee by raising salaries in order to attract lower-income citizens of Easthampton that might need to work side jobs to make ends meet,” said Precinct 5 Councilor Dan Rist, who serves as chairperson of the Finance Committee, at Wednesday’s council meeting. “Although there is no guarantee of diversity, the risk is worth the effort.”

Rist also noted that the increase will recognize the long hours and work of the both governmental bodies.

The proposal also includes a raise to the leaders of both respective boards. If approved, the stipend of the School Committee chairperson will increase from $2,250 to $4,250, and the stipend of the council president will increase from $4,500 to $6,500.

The council gave the current president’s stipend a bump in 2020 from $4,000 to $4,500. At the same time, the council increased the pay of current School Committee members from $1,400 to $2,000, and the pay of the current School Committee chairperson to $2,250.

The combined salaries of the nine-member council would increase by $18,000 for a total of $54,500. The combined salaries of the six-member School Committee would increase by $14,000 for a total of $24,250.

By comparison, Northampton city councilors are paid $9,000, with at-large councilors making $9,500 and the council president at $10,000. Those salaries have not increased since 2016. School Committee members are paid $5,000 a year, with the at-large positions on the School Committee getting $5,500 a year.

The Easthampton council will hold a public hearing on the matter on Nov. 2 at 6:15 p.m. in the council’s chambers at 50 Payson Ave.

Emily Thurlow can be reached at ethurlow@gazettenet.com.
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