The Cambridge City Council proposed to raise members' salaries by nearly $10,000 to $52,500 at its meeting Monday night, drawing heavy criticism from those who said the public should have been informed more about the proposal.
Six city councillors voted to bypass a public hearing on a future salary hike for themselves and members of the school committee, deciding instead to go directly to a second reading of the amendment next month.
The proposal was phrased in technical terms in the city manager's agenda--a move which some said was meant to avoid public discussion on the matter.
The wording of the agenda item spoke only of a "recommended amendment to the Cambridge Municipal Code" and did not make any formal mention of the proposed increase.
"This was proposed in a manner that was not understandable," said Cambridge resident Eli Yardin, who attended the council meeting. "It was put forward so that no one, except a few people, had a clue what it was about."
City Manager Robert W. Healy disagreed, saying the wording of the amendment was routine procedure.
"That's the standard form that the council has used for pay increases for the last 20 or 30 years," Healy said.
Robert Winters, a longtime council observer and publisher of the online Cambridge Civic Journal, used the public comment period at the beginning of the meeting to criticize the wording of the agenda item. He called for councillors to enact a "charter right"--which would postpone discussion on the matter for a week.
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