By Beth Treffeisen
Special to the Gazette
The City Council met on Wednesday, March 14.
Compensation Advisory Board Report
The City Council received a report from the Compensation Advisory Board, which reviewed the salaries of elected officials, department heads, and senior leadership positions as required by City ordinance every two years.
The vendor partner, Segal Waters Consulting, found that the City’s salary ranges are lower compared to the public senior market and recommended salary range adjustments for selected titles to attract and train talent.
Recommendations include moving select positions to a different pay category, increasing the salary ranges for four categories of staff, and increasing the mayor’s and the city councilors’ salaries by 4.2 percent to adjust for the change in cost of living from 2015 to 2017.
BPD’s Body-Worn Camera Pilot Program
Councilor Mike McCarthy, chair of the Public Safety & Criminal Justice Committee and Council President Andrea Campbell reported back on the hearing held on March 12.
At the hearing, Commissioner Bill Evans and the Boston Police Department summarized the preliminary study results of the BPD’s Body-Worn Camera Pilot, during which officers wore cameras for one year, starting in September 2017 and following policies drafted with input from the Social Justice Task Force.
After 200 videos were collected, BPD saw a reduction in the number of civilian complaints and the number of excessive force complaints during the time of the study.
In 2011, there were 80 complaints of excessive force and in 2017, there were only 21 complaints. The final results will be available in May. The matter remains in committee for further work.
Good Food Purchasing Standards
Councilor Michelle Wu filed an ordinance for the City to adopt good food purchasing standards for all City agencies. The Good Food Purchasing Program, which was developed in 2012 as a set of national standards for local procurement, emphasizing local economies, environmental sustainability, fair labor practices, animal welfare, and healthy food.
The program would support small business owners and employees in Massachusetts food production and processing, as well as help address income inequality in our city.
“If Boston did this, it would provide more opportunities to farmers in Western Massachusetts and also influence other major institutions to follow suite,” said Wu. “We need use the City Council platform to spark larger change.”
The matter was assigned to the Committee on Government Operations for a hearing.
Federal Interference in Elections
The City Council voted to adopt Councilor Josh Zakim’s resolution for the City Council to call on the U.S. Congress and out Massachusetts federal delegation to reject the current version of the Department of Homeland Security Authorization Act.
The current language would allow President Trump to deploy agents of the federal Secret Service to local polling locations across the country.
Councilor Zakim spoke about how local elected officials must stand up against unconstitutional interference by the federal government to protect their constituents’ and all Americans’ right to vote free from intimidation.
“It’s like something from another country and another world that it’s even being discussed,” said Zakim. “We need to stay vigilant and make sure this does not interfere with free elections in Boston.”