Worcester, Massachusetts

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Grade2.pngB-
Budget
{{{1}}}
Meetings
{{{1}}}
Elected Officials
{{{1}}}
Administrative Officials P
Partial.png
Permits, zoning
{{{1}}}
Audits
{{{1}}}
Contracts
{{{1}}}
Lobbying N
600px-Red x.png
Public Records P
Partial.png
Local Taxes
{{{1}}}

School district websitesGuide.png
Transparency grading process
Worcester is a town in Massachusetts. According to the 2010 Census, Worcester's population reached 181, 045 people. Worcester is the county seat for the like-named Worcester County, Massachusetts. Both the county and the city are located in the middle of the state, west of Boston and north of Springfield. It is the second largest city in New England, after Boston.[1].

Website evaluation

The good

  • Budget documents are posted.[2]
  • The Mayor and City Council members are listed with contact information and biographies.[3]
  • Meeting schedule, agendas, minutes, and videos are posted.[4]
  • The City Manager is listed with contact information; contact information is also provided for each department, but other administrators are not listed.[5] The City Manager's cabinet members are also listed, but without contact information.[6]
  • Audit documents are posted.[7]
  • City contracts and current bids are posted.[8]
  • Building permits and zoning information are posted.[9][10]
  • Tax documents are posted and can be paid online.[11][12]
  • Public records can be searched online, but public records law and request forms are not provided.[13]
  • Vendor check registers can be searched.[14]

The bad

  • Lobbying information is not posted.

Elected Officials

See also: See also: Massachusetts state employee salary

and See also: Massachusetts public pensions


Worcester is governed by a council-manager government with a popularly elected mayor. A city council acts as the legislative body, and the council-appointed manager handles the traditional day-to-day chief executive functions.[15]

City Council

Worcester's City Council consists of 10 councilors: 6 at-large members (of which the mayor is one) that are elected by the state and 5 district councilors that represent their area of the city. The members of the city council as of September 3 2011 are[16] :

  • Joseph C. O'Brien -- Mayor and Councilor at Large
  • Michael J. Germain -- at large
  • Konstantina B. Lukes -- at large
  • Joseph M. Petty -- at large
  • Frederick C. Rushton -- at large
  • Kathleen M. Toomey -- at large
  • Joffery A. Smith -- District 1
  • Philip P. Palmieri -- District 2
  • Paul P. Clancy, Jr. -- District 3
  • Barbara G. Haller -- District 4
  • William J. Eddy -- District 5

As of 2011, city council representatives received a salary of $29,000 per year.[17]

Mayor

The mayor of Worcester also acts as a councilor-at-large. He or she is on the ballot as a councilor-at-large, and the at-large candidate with the most number of votes becomes the mayor. This means that Worcester citizens vote for their mayor twice -- once as a councilor-at-large and once more for mayor. If a councilor-at-large wishes to not be considered for the mayoral position, s/he can asked to be removed from the mayoral ballot.

The current mayor of Worcester is Joseph C. O'Brien. He is currently serving his first term, and was elected in November 2009.[18]

The mayor is appropriated $34,000 per year in the city's budget.[17]

Election Frequency

Worcester holds elections every two years, on odd years, in November. If necessary, the city holds preliminaries in September.[19]

Administrative Officials

Three administrative officials of note are the: city manager, city clerk, and city auditor.

City Manager

The city manager's position is to handle the traditional day-to-day chief executive functions. This manager is elected by the city council and mayor. The current city manager is Michael V. O'Brien. He was appointed by the city council in 2004. O'Brien, according to his contract with the city, is paid $193,214,24 annually. He receives a 2% pay increase every year.[20]

Administrative Salaries

Top 10 Administrative income earners for Worcester, MA 2009[21]
Rank Last name First name Job title gross pay Regular pay Pay detail Quinn bill OT Stipend Other pay
1 Gemme Gary J Chief of Police 204,425.81 156,006.70 -- 24,752.80 -- 500.00 23,166.31
2 Roche Mark S Deputy Chief of Police 189,108.58 128,521.38 22,919.36 20,853.90 1,333.98 500.00 14,973.96
3 Obrien Michael V City Manager 185,563.60 185,563.60 -- -- -- -- --
4 Fusaro Giulio V. Deputy Chief of Police 180,809.51 112,027.05 14,080.70 16,687.92 -- 500.00 37,513.84
5 Sargent Steven M. Deputy Chief of Police 176,784.78 126,216.58 17,770.84 20,485.80 1,328.22 500.00 10,483.34
6 Sullivan Lawrence A Police Lieutenant 174,813.49 103,790.16 42,186.64 -- 26,658.48 500.00 1,683.85
7 Theodoss Aaron R. Police Captain 168,659.67 110,569.56 35,217.37 -- 21,384.90 500.00 987.84
8 Moylan Jr. Robert L Commisioner of Public Works 167,085.77 160,007.69 -- -- -- -- 7,078.08
9 Feraco Thomas A. Police Officer 159,048.94 75,481.75 54,800.70 -- 23,841.90 500.00 1,000.00
10 Fleming Sean J Deputy Chief of Police 158,221.78 126,873.66 -- 20,485.82 -- 500.00 10,362.30

Budget

Worcester 2009-2011 Budget Summary[22]
Revenue Summary FY2009 Actuals FY2010 Budget FY2011 Budget
Property Tax Levy 197,548,896 204,752,779 214,891,24
State Aid City 53,283,169 41,575,741 39,671,768
State Aid Education 180,493,947 192,784,395 191,512,804
State Aid Charter Schools 5,412,587 4,566,823 4,447,297
State MSBA Reimbursement 17,805,421 19,129,087 15,729,151
Local Receipts 39,776,842 41,901,000 38,528,830
Other Available Funds 4,758,164 1,295,494 1,295,494
Free Cash - - -
Total Revenues 499,079,025 506,005,319 506,076,587
Expenditure Summary FY2009 Actuals FY2010 Budget FY2011 Budget
Fixed Costs
Pensions (and POB) 25,483,872 27,751,853 25,112,403
Health Insurance (and WC/IOD) 25,840,274 23,978,622 27,521,452
Unemployment 539,932 1,370,000 620,000
Debt (Principal and Interest) 28,924,515 29,877,721 29,909,384
Intergovernmental Charges 3,164,829 3,160,975 3,280,806
Stree tlig hts 3,074,517 1,887,828 1,887,828
Snow Removal 7,006,770 2,485,027 2,733,529
Snow Carryover - 3,100,000 1,000,000
Five Point Plan Funding 12,058,233 12,030,263 14,919,487
Total Fixed Costs 105,642,290 106,092,941 106,984,889
Education
Worcester Public Schools 256,622,315 264,355,395 264,083,901
Charter Schools 22,937,360 23,660,337 25,110,946
Total Education 288,015,732 279,559,675 289,194,847
Expenditure Summary FY2009 Actuals FY2010 Budget FY2011 Budget
City Operations
Legislative Offices 2,190,990 1,955,275 2,041,094
City Manager\'s Office 8,299,598 6,834,667 6,861,733
City Manager\'s contingency - 1,036,916 300,000
Human Resources 1,028,392 971,481 969,958
Economic Development 2,165,491 1,192,815 1,103,991
Law 1,562,450 1,369,464 1,386,425
Fire 33,490,818 32,230,467 32,136,798
Police 40,316,851 39,047,555 38,902,032
Emergency Communications 2,598,784 2,069,135 1,998,841
Inspectional Services 3,249,102 2,901,410 2,832,148
Public Works and Parks 16,252,710 16,010,860 16,062,612
Administration and Finance 6,545,853 5,544,329 5,301,217
Enterprise Subsidy (Airport) 1,184,258 1,182,925 -
Enterprise Subsidy (Golf) 111,147
City Operations Total 118,996,444 112,347,297 109,896,851
Total Expenditures 504,649,060 506,005,319 506,076,587

Lobbying

See Also: See also: Masschusetts government sector lobbying ti

Transparency and public records

The city of Worcester does allow its public records to be searched online, but sometimes the release of public information is delayed and information redacted. In 2008, The Worcester Telegram & Gazette submitted a public records request for information on an officer Mark A. Rojas, who had been under suspicion of repeated police brutality. When the file was received, it had been heavily redacted.[23] The newspaper sued, and in 2010 a superior court judge ruled in their favor, saying that the four internal affairs reports could be viewed by the newspaper's lawyers, to further provide argument as to whether the documents should be made public. Ultimately, the newspaper was able to receive and use a less heavily redacted version of the documents received, two years after the original request.[24]

Taxes

Worcester 2009-2011 Budget Summary[25]
Revenue Summary FY2009 Actuals FY2010 Budget FY2011 Budget
Property Tax Levy 197,548,896 204,752,779 214,891,24
State Aid City 53,283,169 41,575,741 39,671,768
State Aid Education 180,493,947 192,784,395 191,512,804
State Aid Charter Schools 5,412,587 4,566,823 4,447,297
State MSBA Reimbursement 17,805,421 19,129,087 15,729,151
Local Receipts 39,776,842 41,901,000 38,528,830
Other Available Funds 4,758,164 1,295,494 1,295,494
Free Cash - - -
Total Revenues 499,079,025 506,005,319 506,076,587

As seen above, the majority of the taxes imposed on Worcester are property taxes. There are, however, personal property taxes, which can " range from chairs in a barber shop, to the inventory of a retail store, to drills used by a dentist to the street poles owned by a utility company."[26]

Emergency Personnel

Worcester employs its own emergency personnel: the Worcester Police Department and the Worcester Fire Department

Police Brutality

Worcester has had several instances of alleged police brutality in the past few years. Most recently, the city settled a lawsuit filed by citizen Katie Warren. She alleges that two officers -- Mark A. Rojas and Kellen Sheen ran her head into a convenience store window before arresting her falsely. The suit was settled for $80,000.[27]. Obtaining public records about this case was cumbersome and took over two years.

External links


References

  1. Monahan, John (2009-11-20). "Challenge boosts two cities’ populations", Telegram & Gazette. Retrieved on 2009-12-02. 
  2. Budget
  3. Mayor and City Council
  4. Agendas & Minutes
  5. City Manager
  6. Cabinet Members
  7. Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports
  8. Purchasing
  9. Building & Zoning
  10. Ordinances
  11. Treasurer and Tax Documents
  12. Bills and Services (dead link)
  13. Search Public Records
  14. Vendor Check Register
  15. Worcester Government
  16. Worcester City Council
  17. 17.0 17.1 Rosen, Gary 'Worcester Mag' "Issues abound for city council challengers," 19 Jan 2011. Accessed on 3 September 2011
  18. Worcester Mayor
  19. Worcester, Massachusetts Election Results
  20. City Manager Employment Contract, 2007, 2012. 5 December 2006 Accessed 3 September 2011.
  21. City of Worcester List of Employee Wages 2009. 'Telegram,' Accessed 3 September 2011
  22. O'Brien, Michael V., Fiscal 2011 Annual Budget, City of Worcester, Available online. Page 24
  23. 'Worcester Telegram & Gazette' "Worcester Police release 1,500 pages of officer's file," 10 December 2008. Accessed September 3, 2011. Subscription/registration required.
  24. 'Telegram & Gazette,' "Rojas case documents received;" 2 May 2010. Accessed Sept 6, 2011
  25. O'Brien, Michael V., Fiscal 2011 Annual Budget, City of> [Worcester, Available online. Page 24
  26. Worcester, MA Personal Property Tax
  27. 'Worcester Telegram & Gazette,' "Case against Worcester officers settled for $80,000." 30 August 2011. Accessed September 6, 2011