So two things were accomplished by the end of Wednesday’s City Council Meeting. The controversial “unity” restricting map was approved, and the city council received a pay raise.
When we predicted that the city council meeting on Wednesday would be a battle. We had no idea how heated and nuts it would get. The five-hour meeting had shouting, frustration, tension, many calls for a recess, and even insults. You can read the backstory of the redistricting drama here.
One of the tensest and outrageous moments was when City Councilor Frank Baker said the following to fellow councilor and redistricting chair Liz Breadon:
“This exercise is an all-out assault on Catholic life in Boston,” Baker said clergy was telling him. “And it’s not lost on them that the person leading the charge is a Protestant from Fermanagh.”
Needless to say, this did not go over well at all. City Council President Ed Flynn banged the gavel, and the body took another recess. Baker did apologize when they returned, and Flynn offered the floor to Breadon.
Breadon, visibly upset, called the insult “an absolute disgrace” and recalled growing up in Ireland during “The Troubles.”
“This is my home,” she said of moving to Boston. “It is an insult to me to have a colleague on this City council insinuate that I am discriminating against Catholics.”
The Boston Herald has a great recap with all the details here.
At the end of it all, the approved “unity” map moves a part of South Boston out of City Council President Ed Flynn’s District 2 and puts it in City Councilor Frank Baker’s District 3, and moves a portion of southern Dorchester from D3 into City Councilor Brian Worrell’s D4.
The final vote was 9-4. The four no-votes were Baker, Flaherty, Flynn and Murphy.
Mayor Michelle Wu will need to approve the final map.
Now, on to the Pay Raise
At the end of an exhausting meeting, the city council switched gears and overrode Mayor Wu’s veto of its pay raise. Back in October, the city council approved a pay raise which Mayor Wu vetoed because she thought it was too high. The city council then eased back from the $125,000 salary and approved a slightly more modest pay raise
The council ultimately approved pay hikes from $103,500 now to $115,000 in 2024, then $120,000 in 2025 and $125,000 in 2026, and a raise in the mayor’s pay from $207,000 now to $250,000 in 2026.
The final vote for the veto override was 9-4. The four no-votes were Baker, Flaherty, Flynn and Murphy.