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|Subject: Rep. D'Amico says 'he's not sure' if he'll keep a 5.5 percent raise Mon Jan 19, 2009 1:44 pm|| |
- Quote :
- By George Morse (www.eastbayri.com)
SEEKONK - Everyone is going to bleed.
These were the words of State Representative Steven D’Amico when he appeared at a Board of Selectmen meeting Monday night. He came down to deliver news that Seekonk is probably looking at a significant reduction in state aid before the end of the current fiscal year, which wraps up on June 30.
But less than 48 hours after Rep. D’Amico said these words, he received a 5.5 percent pay hike. Though some of his fellow representatives have said they’ll either donate the raise to charity or return it to the state, Rep. D’Amico said he’s not sure what he’ll do.
“I haven’t thought about it,” Rep. D’Amico said.
Unlike his peers, Rep. D’Amico said he isn’t in a financial situation to simply give the raise away, with his role as a public servant being his only source of income.
“This is probably something I should have dodged,” Rep. D’Amico said. “I’m not getting rich here. I work hard and I guarantee you we will all be working twice as hard this session because we’re facing so many retractable problems. If I had a second source of income, it would be easier for me to think about doing something like that.”
Rep. D’Amico said he does donate to local charities when he can, but he didn’t comment on which ones.
“I don’t want to toot my own horn,” Rep. D’Amico said.
The bump pushes Rep. D’Amico’s base salary up about $3,100 to a total of $61,440.
At the meeting Monday night, Rep. D’Amico took a question specifically on this subject. Ellie Wiseman, a Seekonk resident, asked Rep. D’Amico if the legislature had considered cutting their salaries in the face of a looming $1 billion budget shortfall. He responded that nothing like that had been brought up in sometime.
On Friday, Rep. D’Amico told The Star he didn’t mention his coming pay increase at the time because he “didn’t think of it” and thought Mrs. Wiseman was “speaking in generalities” and not to “this issue inparticular.”
Other residents didn’t waste any time taking a shot at Rep. D’Amico, like Paul Buckley, Chairman of the Seekonk Republican Committee.
“Why don’t you start and lead the legislature in proposing a decrease in pay, instead of taking the 5.5 percent raise,” reads a portion of a letter by Mr. Buckley. “Many citizens of this state have lost jobs or are worried that they are about to lose them. D’Amico’s voting on an irresponsible budget, against his Governor’s vetoes, for wasteful bloated programs, shows his true agenda and character.”
Mr. Buckley continued that “when warnings came from Gov. Patrick to the legislature late this fall of the budget shortfall, “Representative” D’Amico was not playing along. During just the last few months, the representative voted five times to override the Governor’s vetoes, saving close to $1,000,000 in cuts to the cities and towns of the Commonwealth.”
The to the crap House of Representatives was delivered as part of a 1998 constitutional amendment that states representatives salaries must be “increased or decreased at the same rate as increases or decreases in the median household income for the commonwealth for the preceding two year period, as ascertained by the governor.” In this case, the preceding two-year period was 2007 and 2008.
Rep. D’Amico said he wasn’t in the House of Representatives in 1998, but he did vote for the amendment. He said it was a vote took the politics out of legislative raises by regulating it to the market. The recent media criticism of the raises, Rep D’Amico said, is the re-appearance of politics in the issue.
“When voters passed this constitutional amendment, the purpose was to take politics out of this whole thing make our success tied to success of commonwealth as a whole,” Rep. D’Amico said. “I voted for it and I don’t think we should be voting ourselves pay raises. Now, there are people trying to inject politics into this.”
Rep. D’Amico also said that while there may be a pay bump for this legislative session, which started on Wednesday Jan. 7, the pay decrease at the beginning of the next legislative session in two years will not only erase the current raise, but go even deeper.
“I fully expect if we get a five percent pay raise this session, I would expect we’ll get a 10 percent reduction next session,” Rep. D’Amico said. “I certainly understand the seriousness of what we’re facing and if I’m lucky enough to be re-elected in two years you won’t hear me whining about my 10 percent paycut because that’s the system and that’s the way it’s setup.”
Last edited by Admin on Fri Jan 23, 2009 12:42 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Word filter adjustment...)