fb-pixel Skip to main content

In raising pay at top, Wu should also see to staff who are struggling to get by

Mayor Michelle Wu headed to a press conference on City Hall Plaza Aug. 16.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Re “Wu proposes large pay hikes for top officials” (Page A1, Aug. 9): I worked in human services for 10 years before getting my master’s in social work. For the past 10 years, I have worked as a school therapist in a program run by the Boston Public Health Commission. We provide clinical services, health education, and medical services to Boston high school students.

While schools were locked down during the COVID-19 pandemic, we continued our services for students who needed us. More than two years into the pandemic, there are growing concerns about the mental health of our youth. The need for trained clinicians is more important than ever.


However, with the promise of mental health funding, I’ve heard little discussion about those who provide these vital services. I work with a great group of clinicians, but our salaries do not reflect our expertise and dedication. Many clinicians have additional part-time jobs in order to afford living in one of the most expensive cities in the country.

Mayor Michelle Wu is seeking a range of salary increases for top city officials such as fire and police commissioner, and Boston’s chief people officer, Alex Lawrence, says the city needs “to be able to pay higher” to attract and retain the best talent. I would be fine with that as long as all civil service employees have attractive, acceptable salaries. My salary is not equal to that of a school social worker working for the Boston Public Schools. All that my colleagues and I ask is for salary equity.

Wu has often spoken of community; however, as a member of the city’s staff and the Boston community, I am left disappointed with her idea of fair and equitable.

Howard M. Brown


The writer is a licensed independent clinical social worker.