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Merrimack Valley

June 4, 2014

Methuen holds special meeting to OK solicitor's salary

(Continued)

The chairman said he did not think questions about how the salary was negotiated was related to the vote on the salary itself.

“It has nothing to do with pay,” he said. “You could either like the pay or not like the pay, vote yes or vote no. Her asking about that meeting had absolutely nothing to do with the pay scale.”

Concerns about the process should have been raised before, he said.

Other councilors criticized Ferry’s objection.

Marsan, who led the search committee, said he thought the hold up was sour grapes from a councilor in the minority on the solicitor issue.

“It seems like we can’t get on the same page about the solicitor,” he said. “We don’t all have to agree. That’s government, that’s life. We just have to accept what the council as a whole decides. I’m on the short end of the stick a lot of times, but you’ve got to suck it up and move forward. You’ve still got your vote and your job.”

Councilor Daniel Grayton said he thought the objection was an “abuse of council rules” and that holding up approval of Regan’s salary is an unprofessional way to treat an employee.

“I don’t believe she was objecting to the pay,” he said. “She wasn’t able to speak about something not on the agenda. It wasn’t handled well. As a council we voted to appoint Kerry Regan. To delay paying her is ridiculous.”

When the council meets tonight in City Hall. Regan’s pay is the only item on the agenda. Councilors expressed confidence her salary would be approved, while Ferry hoped she could discuss her concerns with the council.

The council on May 19 voted to hire Regan, an assistant city solicitor in Lowell, over one other finalist. She will be the first person to serve as Methuen solicitor since Peter McQuillan resigned last summer. Boston firm Kopelman and Paige has represented the city in the meantime.

Ferry was one of three councilors, along with Sean Fountain and James Jajuga, who voted against hiring Regan. They argued Kopelman and Paige would be more cost-effective.

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