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March 28, 2022

Worcester’s chief diversity officer was the lowest-paid chief among City cabinet members

City of Worcester C-suite salaries: Day-to-day operations in the City of Worcester are run by the city manager, two assistant city managers, and 16 other members of the city manager's cabinet. Of the cabinet members with the word "chief" in their title, the chief diversity officer was the lowest paid in 2020, the latest year data is provided.

Worcester’s chief diversity officer role was the lowest-paid chief position in the City cabinet in 2020, making a salary roughly $74,000 lower than the average c-suite city employee, according to 2020 data on Worcester’s website.

In 2020, Chief Diversity Officer Stephanie Williams had a salary of $92,160, based on the one month of pay she received that year after starting the job Nov. 30, 2020.

The day-to-day operations of the city government are run by the city manager, two assistant city managers, and 16 other professionals who make up the city manager's cabinet. The five other members of the cabinet who have the word "chief" in their title made salaries ranging from $108,809 to $239,130.

Adding in the city manager, assistant city managers, and the city solicitor, those nine city employees made an average of $166,737 in 2020, about $74,000 higher than Williams’ salary that year.

Williams' annual salary increased in 2021 to $103,875, said City spokesperson Robert Burgess, although that is still lower than any of her chief colleagues made in 2020, even not accounting for raises those employees may have received. Salaries for other city employees in 2021 are not publicly available.

Beyond providing Williams' 2021 salary, Burgess declined to provide further comment for this article.

Although she received the lowest salary compared with her c-suite colleagues, Williams was the highest-paid chief diversity officer in Worcester’s history. Suja Chacko, who served from 2018 to 2020, made a salary of about $70,000 annually, according to data from those years. Malika Carter, who was the City’s first CDO and began her role in 2016, made an annual salary of $63,000.

All three CDOs left their positions within about two years of starting. Williams left for a chief diversity executive role at Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner, saying in her resignation letter the City treated diversity work as an extracurricular activity.

In fall 2020, the Worcester organization Black Families Together submitted a list of demands to the City regarding high turnover among CDOs, including that the chief diversity officer rank equally to assistant city manager, with an equivalent salary.

Assistant City Manager Nicole Valentine made $129,338 in 2020. Eric Batista, who is also assistant city manager now, was not serving in that role in 2020, when he made $107,656 as director of urban innovation.

The second lowest-paid cabinet member in 2020 after Williams was Chief Development Officer Peter Dunn, who made $108,809 that year. Dunn was promoted to the chief role in May 2020, so his salary may have increased partway through the year.

The two highest-paid city cabinet members – who are also the two highest-paid city employees – were Police Chief Steven Sargent, who made $239,130, and City Manager Edward Augustus, who made $279,770.

City Solicitor Michael Traynor, Acting Fire Chief Martin Dyer, Chief Financial Officer Timothy McGrouthy, and then-Chief Information Officer Eileen Cazaropoul all made salaries between $139,500 and $178,500 in 2020. 

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March 30, 2022

I don't remember an article in the past mentioning the assistant city manger being the lowest paid executive prior to this position being established. How large is the diversity office? How many employees? How large is the budget? These are some items that help determine someone's worth.

March 28, 2022
It's a brand new position and does not affect the lives of everyday citizens, as the other c-suite positions do. The police and fire chief have hundreds of employees reporting to them, whose very jobs save lives. There is an inference in the article that the low salary is based on lack of support for the position or race, in either case the article infers the motives are nefarious. The very nature of this article is disingenuous.
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