Marlborough councilor proposes eliminating pension, health-care perks

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By Art Simas Community Reporter

Marlborough – Part-time workers usually do not receive benefits in the private or public sectors if they work 10 to 15 hours per week.

So why, Ward 3 Councilor Matt Elder asks, should the Marlborough City Council be any different?

Currently, if they wish, city councilors can elect to be part of the city's health-care and pension system. A councilor receives a one-year credit toward a pension for every year he or she serves on the council.

Beginning with this year's elections in November, Elder wants to eliminate that option for newly elected councilors. Councilors who win reelection would be allowed to keep any arrangement they have.

In correspondence to the City Council members, he said he has been working with City Solicitor Donald Rider to draft a home rule petition that would prohibit Marlborough city councilors from continuing this optional practice.

“For pension reform, we must start by drawing a line in the sand and taking a stand going forward,” Elder wrote. “For those of you who have signed up for benefits, you have signed a contract with the city and there's nothing I can, nor should, do about that. This is why I's only looking to address the situation for new councilors going forward.

“I feel this is a change that will help restore faith in city government by amending a system that many believe is unfair … and now feel ready to ask for your support.”

In addressing the council Feb. 14, Elder said he would be brief in his remarks “because I know there will be a lot more discussion about this, but we have to start somewhere.”

The proposal was sent to the City Council Legislative and Legal Affairs subcommittee.