Cambridge, Massachusetts

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Cambridge is a town in Massachusetts.


Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, in the Greater Boston area. It was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England.[1] Cambridge is home Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. According to the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 105,162.[2] It is the fifth most populous city in the state, behind Boston, Worcester, Springfield, and Lowell.[2] Cambridge is one of the two county seats of Middlesex County (Lowell is the other).

Website evaluation

The good

  • Budget information is easily accessible from FY 2006 - 2012.[3].
  • Contact information is available for the mayor and city council.[4]
  • Comprehensive financial audits are readily available from 2002 - 2011[5]
  • Formal bids (over $25,000)[6] and Construction bids over $10,000[7] are readily available on the city's website.[8]
  • The public records officer information is available online.[9]
  • Tax information is located in the city's budget.[10] Additional property tax information is available online.[11]

The bad

  • Meeting agendas for the city council are posted online.[12] However, minutes are only available for 2010.[13]
  • Names and emails are available for some heads of departments, but not many or all.
  • While zoning permits[14] and some kinds of permits[15] are available online, information on building permits are either unavailable or difficult to find.
  • Information on government sector lobbying was either unavailable or difficult to find.

Elected Officials

The city of Cambridge elects their city council every other year, on odd-numbered years. The council then elects from themselves a Mayor, who serves as chair of the council.

City Council and mayor

The current members of city council of Cambridge, MA are:

  • David P. Maher (Mayor)
  • Henrietta Davis (Vice Mayor)
  • Leland Cheung
  • Markorie C. Decker
  • Craig A. Kelley
  • Kenneth E. Reeves
  • Sam Seidel
  • E. Denise Simmons
  • Timothy J. Toomey, Jr.

Councilors vote to increase their pay by cost of living yearly, but have declined the last two years. Their salary remains at $70, 329. The mayor receives a salary of $103,037.[16]

Administrative Officials

Administrative officials are hired, rather than elected. Despite this, they can have a large effect on policies that affect citizens. They can also be a large drain on cities' budgets.

Top 10 city income earners for 2010[17]
name position YTD Grs
Healy Jr,Robert W City Manager $336317.94
Rossi,Richard C Deputy City Manager $278338
Young,Jeffrey Mark Superintendent $245334.48
Haas,Robert C. Police Commissioner $185561.21
Hogan,Timothy J Police Lieutenant $184650.68
Walsh,James M Deputy Superintendent/Pol $183920.49
Reardon,Gerald R Fire Chief $181315.57
Lang,John J Police Lieutenant $180882.82
Turner,Daniel J Fire Deputy Chief $176928.04
Morrissey,Michael J Fire Deputy Chief $173555.7

City Manager

In Cambridge, much of the executive decisions made for the city are done by the city manager. This position is appointed by the city council and mayor, rather than elected. According to the city website:

The City Manager’s Office is the Executive Department of the City of Cambridge. As the City’s Chief Executive Officer, the City Manager provides leadership to and administration of all departments and services. The City Manager’s staff includes the Deputy City Manager, Assistant to the City Manager, Public Information Officer, Executive Assistant and Administrative Assistant. The City Manager is responsible for the enforcement of all laws and City ordinances; appointment of department heads; appointment of members to the numerous City boards and commissions; and submission of the annual budget to the City Council. In addition, the City Manager and his staff recommend policies and programs to the City Council and implement Council decisions[18].

The current city manager in Cambridge is Robert W. Healy, and the deputy city manager is Richard C. Rossi.[19]

Mr. Healy's earnings for 2010 were $336,317. It is the highest paid city of Cambridge salary. Second highest is the deputy city manager, who earns $278,338.


The full spending and budget analysis is available in the city's budget, on their website. The following is a summary chart of certain kinds of expenditures that the city partakes in.

Cambridge, MA General Fund Three Year History[20]
Expenditure Category FY10 FY11 FY12
Salaries and Wages $276,873,085 $288,740,790 $304,039,470
Other Ordinary Maintenance $98,240,005 $103,128,430 $102,941,815
Travel & Training $3,633,855 $3,516,870 $3,603,040
Extraordinary Expenditures $50,679,755 $52,125,395 $51,862,240
TOTAL $429,426,700 $447,511,485 $462,446,565

Transparency and public records

In recent months there has been a recent "lockdown" of city council meeting minutes by the mayor David Maher. Maher has rejected a public records information request done on behalf of Wicked Local, citing that many city council meeting minutes are potentially jeopardizing the city's "litigating position" in a wrongful termination lawsuit. Opponents to the block cite that such a blanket withhold of public records could not be justified in that sense, as not all minutes will relate to the lawsuit. Wicked Local Cambridge has filed a complaint.[21]

The public records fee schedule is available online. Citizens must pay the following fees for certain public records:

Street List There is no charge for elected officials, candidates for public office, and political organizations.

  • All copies - $55.00

Voting List

  • Complete list - $15.00
  • Single ward list - $2.00
  • Single precinct list - $. 75
  • Certified Letters of Residency: $2.00
  • District Maps: $.25
  • Alphabetical Street Index: $2.50
  • Voter File on disk: $20.00
  • Resident File on disk: $20.00
  • Voter History on disk: $10.00


Complete tax information is available in the city's budget online. The following is a tax revenue summary:

Cambridge, MA Tax revenue, FY10 - 12[22]
Tax Actual FY 10 Actual FY 11 Projected FY12
Real property tax $247,382,218 $270,080,428 $286,522,917
Personal property tax $16,526,349 $19,487,952 $20,674,378
Motor vehicle tax $5,925,159 $5,925,000 $5,925,000
Hotel/Motel Excise tax $7,601,971 $9,900,000 $9,800,000
Corporation excise tax $1,930,181 $1,500,000 $1,200,000
Meals excise tax $1,759,717 $3,300,000 $3,300,000
Penalties & Delinq. Int. $948,809 $800,000 $800,000
In Liew of Tax payments $5,175,462 $5,290,000 $5,120,000
Total $287,249,866 $316,283,380 $333,342,295

Emergency Personnel

Cambridge employs its own police and fire department.


The Cambridge Police Department is committed to the enforcement of laws and preservation of order that protect the rights and property of every person within the City of Cambridge. Our mission is to provide the highest quality of police service and to impact crime, and its associated elements, through the utilization of new and proven crime prevention strategies and problem-solving partnerships with our community.[23]

There are 267 police officers in the force, and they have a $41,925,460.

Fire Department

The mission of the Cambridge Fire Department is to protect the lives and property of the people of Cambridge from fires, natural and man-made disasters, and hazardous materials incidents; to save lives by providing emergency medical services; to prevent fires through prevention and education programs; to provide defense against terrorist attacks; and to provide a work environment that values cultural diversity and is free of harassment and discrimination.[24]

The Cambridge Massachusetts Fire Department has the following personnel:

  • Chief Engineer: Gerald R. Reardon
  • Chief of Operations: John J. Gelinas
  • Administration: 12
  • Fire Prevention: 4
  • Technical Management: 5
  • Training: 2
  • Fire Suppression: 255

External links


  1. Degler, Carl Neumann (1984). Out of Our Pasts: The Forces That Shaped Modern America. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 9780061319853. Retrieved on September 9, 2009. 
  2. 2.0 2.1
  3. Cambridge, MA. Publications Search results
  4. [1]
  5. Cambridge, MA Audit department
  6. Cambridge, MA Purchasing -- Formal
  7. Cambridge, MA Purchasing -- Construction
  8. Cambridge, MA Purchasing
  9. [ Cambridge, MA Public Records
  10. City of Cambridge, MA. FY12 Adopted Budget. Page II-22. [ (PDF) Accessed 14 Sept 2011]
  11. Cambridge, MA. Property Tax Information
  12. Cambridge, MA. Hearing schedule
  13. Cambridge, MA Meeting schedule and meeting mintutes
  14. Cambridge, MA Zoning Information
  15. Camrbridge, MA Permits and Applications
  16. Wicked Local Cambridge. "Cambridge City Council gives up pay increase," 21 Mar 2011. Accessed 14 September 2011 (dead link)
  17. Wachtler, Scott. "Cambridge City Manger's salary almost as much as Obama's pay." Wicked Local Cambridge, 11 August 2010. Accessed 14 Sept 2011
  18. Cambridge, MA City manager
  19. Cambridge, MA City manager
  20. City of Cambridge, Massachusetts FY12 Adopted budget. Available online.
  21. Wachtler, Scott. "Cambridge mayor blocks records in multimillion dollar wrongful termination case." 8 August 2011. Accessed 14 September 2011 (dead link)
  22. City of Cambridge, MA. FY12 Adopted Budget. Page II-22. [ (PDF) Accessed 14 Sept 2011]
  23. Cambridge, MA Police department
  24. Cambridge, MA Fire Department -- mission