The City Council Tuesday night approved a controversial pay scale for about 80 non-classified city employees, but with an amendment eliminating language in the ordinance that authorized the mayor to increase salaries by 15 percent beyond the outer range of the salary grid.
A testy crowd of more than 100 showed up at City Council Chambers for the public hearing conducted by the Ordinance Committee. Speakers against the proposed pay raises included 2011 mayoral candidates Mary-Jane Foster and John Gomes, city clerk candidate Marilyn Moore, former City Councilman Bob Walsh, former State Senator Ernie Newton, political science professor Don Greenberg and Mary Pat Healy, executive director of the Bridgeport Child Advocacy Coalition. Ordinance Committee chairman Rich Paoletto found himself sparring with a variety of speakers. A number of folks in the crowd wondered why six uniformed police officers were on hand.
The public hearing ended about 8 p.m. with the full council going into caucus. After 9 p.m. the council passed the ordinance with the amendment. Voting against the ordinance were East Side council members Carlos Silva and Angel dePara, Andre Baker from the East End and Michelle Lyons from the North End.
Mayor Bill Finch supported the measure saying it will help to attract strong candidates for city positions. It appears both sides can claim victory, the mayor for wanting to modernize city salaries and opponents that led to a council amendment. The council passed the ordinance 12 to 4 with City Council President Tom McCarthy, a city employee, recusing himself. Three other council members did not attend the meeting.
Perspective of Keila Torres Ocasio, CT Post: