Local Government and Politics, News

Lynn City Council won’t pursue a controversial promotion as part of push for a $14 million loan

LYNN — It looks like the City Council secretary will not be getting a promotion after all.

The controversial move to make Theresa Young a department head, complete with a 6.6 percent raise, has been stripped from a proposed home rule petition, according to City Council President Darren Cyr, who had championed the boost.

In addition, a plan to hire a city budget analyst has been deep-sixed.

“After talking to all the councilors and everybody, we will remove the department head and budget analyst provisions,”  said Cyr. “The councilors are getting pressure from unions and constituents to take them out. We just figured this is the wrong time to do it.”

The promotion was inserted near the end of the 13-page legislative proposal to balance the city’s budget for the next two years. A part-time budget analyst was also included in the measure who would report to the City Council.

The panel is set to debate the financial package Tuesday, following a public hearing.

Under the original proposal, Young, the council’s executive assistant, would have been named director of council affairs and paid $107,006, up from $100,379, a $6,627 increase.

If approved, the finance plan advanced by Cyr and Mayor Thomas M. McGee would allow the city to borrow up to $14 million to close the nearly $12 million budget hole the city faces over the next two years. It would also remove the requirement to seek voter approval for borrowing more than $4 million and  implement a $90 annual trash fee for every housing unit.

Ward 1 City Councilor Wayne Lozzi said he plans to offer an amendment that would provide a $40 annual senior discount on the trash fee. It has not been decided how old a resident must be before the discount would kick in.

“I favor a senior discount because they don’t generate much trash and many are on a fixed incomes,” he said.

The new trash fee would raise about $2.4 million, according to Cyr. The senior discount could cost the city more than $250,000, he said.

But Cyr said if the senior discount is improved, the council may have to raise the trash fee for everyone else to fill the gap.

“I want to make sure everyone understands that not one councilor wants to impose a trash fee on anybody, but we have to do it,” he said. “If not, we would have to lay off more than 200 people. The difference has to be made up somewhere.”

The mayor declined to discuss home rule petition, saying it is in the council’s hands.

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