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In writing last week that Newton Mayor Setti Warren “pushed a measure to hike his salary by roughly $27,000 to $125,001 as part of a city budget proposal that was ultimately approved by Newton’s aldermen in 2012,” the Boston Herald’s Matt Stout is distorting reality. 

Stout got some of it right — the raise that Warren rightfully accepted in 2012 was the suggestion of the Board of Aldermen-appointed Blue Ribbon Commission’s detailed research on compensation of mayors and town managers in 2005. Former Mayor David Cohen refused the raise until 2008 when he tried to insert it into the budget during a very contentious override campaign. After the ensuing uproar, Cohen withdrew the raise from the recommended budget. 

While running for office in 2009, Warren–along with most of the other candidates–said he would not take the raise during his first year in office. The Newton TAB editorialized in 2011 and 2012 that Warren should take the pay raise, just as Cohen should have when the Blue Ribbon Commission first recommended it. 

Saying that Warren pushed a measure to hike his salary is simply untrue. No pushing, urging, lobbying or cajoling was required or necessary. Warren took an established pay raise that had been owed to the Newton mayor, regardless of who held the office. As I recall, not only did the board agree, so did the former president of the Newton Taxpayers Association, Jeff Seideman. 

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