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Questions Arise As Haverhill Officials Vote To Boost Own Expense Accounts

By Michael Rosenfield, WBZ-TV
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HAVERHILL (CBS) – Some residents in Haverhill are raising concerns after elected officials voted to up their expense accounts.

Both the School Committee and the City Council will receive more money.

“I want to know where they’re spending money especially when they’re asking for parents to give the school money to provide for field trips, food costs and things of that nature,” said Haverhill resident and parent Carmen Ortiz.

School Committee members will now get $3,250 per year for their expense accounts, up from $850.

City Councilors have doubled their expense accounts, from $2,400 to $4,800.

The money is supposed to go toward work-related expenses, but no receipts are required.

“I’m a tax-paying mom,” said Haverhill resident Jayme Bekhit. “Where is my money going? I’d like to know.”

City Councilor Mike McGonagle voted for the increases, saying elected officials are often hit up for donations to local charities and they spend a lot of time attending and traveling to community and statewide events.

“Although it’s a part-time job, people do expect us to be at these events,” said McGonagle. “And when you go around town, you’re never really off-duty. You’re always on, people come up and talk to you.”

School Committee member Paul Magliocchetti voted against the increase.

“It’s my thought that being a member of the school committee is public service,” said Magliocchetti. “The pay is not a priority to me.”

The expense accounts are separate from the annual salaries. City councilors earn about $8,000 per year, and school committee members receive about $5,000.

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