Election Guide: Should Framingham Be The Highest Paid Mayor in the Commonwealth?

FRAMINGHAM – Under the City of Framingham charter that passed this spring, the salary for the first mayor of Framingham will be more than the Mayor of Boston. In fact, the first mayor of Framingham will be the highest paid mayor in the Commonwealth.

The Framingham mayor’s salary is set to start at the same salary as of the current Framingham Town Manager or more than $187,000.

The salary was set that way to be “cost neutral” under the new form of government.

Voters will elect the first mayor on Tuesday, November 7. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

At the Framingham League of Women Voters forum last month, both candidates were asked if they would accept the full salary if elected?

“This is also the salary of that is consist with some of the going rates when you think about leadership,” said Spicer. “And part of evaluating what that salary will be, I will look carefully at any way we can adjust the salary, but also making sure that it is being consistent and fair for equitable work.”

“I believe $187,000 is too high,” said Stefanini at the forum. “I am prepared to accept what the City Council through its analysis and review sets as the  limit. And I will donate the difference to local charities or school activities.”

The Town of Framingham has an annual budget in excess of $265 million, including the Framingham Public Schools budget. The new Mayor will be responsible for overseeing the budget, managing employees, and be involved in contract negotiations with the municipal unions.

Framingham Source asked both mayoral candidates what they currently make for a salary, last week, to see if the mayor’s salary would be a raise or a pay cut.

Neither candidate was completely forthcoming.

John Stefanini did not wish to disclose his exact salary, but did say he currently makes in excess of $200,000 a year as an attorney with DLA Piper Global law firm in Boston.

Stefanini said he would be taking a “significant pay cut,” if elected as mayor.

Stefanini is an attorney at the firm with a focus on “real estate and administration in government relations.”

Yvonne Spicer did not answer two requests to disclose her salary.

A Freedom of Information request puts Spicer’s salary at $152,649, according to an IRS 990 form all non-profit organizations are required to file with the IRS.

That most recent 990 form was signed by the Museum of Science’s Chief Financial Officer John T. Slakey.

The 990 form shows the Museum of Science Boston has three senior vice presidents and five vice presidents, one of which is Spicer.

She is the lowest paid of all the vice presidents at the Museum of Science. Her official title is Vice President of Advocacy and Educational Partnerships.

The IRS form, signed and filled out by the Museum’s CFO and dated February 12, 2016, shows that the Museum of Science had revenues in excess of $70 million and total assets in excess of $222 million.

Total salaries at the Museum were in excess of $23 million, of which $2 million went to executives like Spicer.

However, the CFO identified Spicer as not a “key employee” for the Museum, on the IRS form.

The IRS, by federal law, requires non-profit organizations to identify up to 20 employees, who make more than $150,000 a year as key employees.

All the senior vice presidents at the Museum of Science Boston, and at least one of the vice president, was listed as a “key employee,” but not Spicer.

To be a key employee, the IRS requires employees to pass a “responsibility test.”

The test means that  an employee has responsibilities, powers or influence over the organization as a whole that is similar to that held by officers or directors; when compared to the organization as a whole, the employee manages a discrete segment or activity that represents 10% or more of the activities, assets, income, or expenses of the organization; or the employee has or shares the ability to control or determine 10% or more of the organization’s capital expenditures, operating budget, or compensation for employees.”

The Museum of Science’s CFO determined that Spicer did not meet that criteria.

Framingham Source requested Spicer and her campaign answer the following four questions:

1) What is your current salary?
2) Do you manage employees? How many?
3) How much is the budget you are responsible for as a vice president in the current fiscal year?
4) Will you accept the full mayoral salary? why or why not?
Source has yet to receive a response. It has been days.
Framingham Source also asked both candidates “what is your experience with negotiating contracts and working with unions?”
Neither candidate responded this weekend.
Both candidates have impressive resumes to be Framingham’s first mayor.
Spicer has devoted her life to education. She started as a educator in the Framingham Public Schools, later worked at the Newton Public School system.
Her first time on the ballot for public office is for mayor. She was elected to Town Meeting last year, as a write-in with six votes.
Click here to view Spicer’s resume.
Stefanini was first elected a Framingham Selectmen in his 20s, and later served as a State Representative for Framingham. he was a lawyer in private practice before joining his current law firm. He taught history at Framingham High and has taught at the University level.
Click here to view Stefanini’s resume.

 

 

 

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: editor@FraminghamSource.com Phone: 508-315-7176

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