LYNN — The city is searching for a new treasurer/collector following the retirement of Richard Fortucci, who worked stints as treasurer, collector and chief financial officer for nearly two decades at City Hall.
The retirement comes as the city has opted to combine those two offices, which was a requirement of the home rule petition that was passed last year allowing the city to borrow $14 million to balance its budget for the past two years, according to Michael Bertino, the city’s chief financial officer.
The legislation reads that the city can consolidate the positions of treasurer and collector whenever a vacancy occurs in one or both of those positions. The consolidation was officially approved by the City Council last month.
“The vast majority of municipalities in the commonwealth have a combined treasurer/collector,” Bertino said. “It’s very common that this practice was done.”
Fortucci, the city’s treasurer for 18 years, had been working in the dual role for a little less than a year after the retirement and subsequent passing of Frederick Cronin Jr. last year, who served as the city’s collector for 41 years.
For a 10-year stint, Fortucci, 64, worked as both treasurer and chief financial officer. His last day was on April 1.
“My driving force (for retiring) is seeing a few people my age suddenly passing away from one illness or another,” Fortucci said. “It just got me thinking that we’re not getting younger and I started looking at it from that perspective that maybe it was time to get out.”
Fortucci said his wife of 38 years retired in the fall, and the couple plans to spend their time resting, relaxing and traveling.
Upon his retirement, Fortucci was making a salary of $114,055, which included a 25 percent education incentive for having a master’s degree. In addition, he received a separate longevity check for $9,124, which was 10 percent of his base salary of $91,244, and an annual car allowance of $3,900, according to the city comptroller’s office.
The city’s next treasurer/collector would be hired at $87,596 if the candidate has no degree, and up to $111,000 with a master’s degree, according to James Lamanna, the city’s attorney.
Fortucci’s retirement comes as the city is struggling financially. When he was chief financial officer, he said he had more of an awareness of what was going on, but as treasurer, he was limited in the scope of what he was able to see.
He said it wasn’t appropriate for him to comment on how the city could dig itself out of its financial hole, but said the city has some “damn good talent” in place to take care of the problem going forward.
Fortucci’s tenure was not all smooth sailing. In 2011, former Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy moved to fire him from his position as chief financial officer, claiming he mismanaged city finances.
The disciplinary process dragged out over three City Council hearings, with the Council ultimately voting unanimously to reinstate Fortucci as chief financial officer, with councilors saying at the time the evidence presented during the sessions was insufficient to find fault with and remove him from his position.
“I think it’s time all that get put to rest,” Fortucci said. “When the new administration came in, I think a lot of that stuff was addressed. I don’t think it’s appropriate to go back and rehash that again.”