LOWELL -- The City Council voted Tuesday night to appoint state Rep. Kevin Murphy as its new city manager after emerging from an executive session to discuss the terms of his employment.
The council voted last week to select the 61-year-old Murphy as city manager, but needed to finalize the memorandum of understanding, which they did on Tuesday night in closed session before returning to open session to take an official vote.
The council voted 8-0, with Councilor Edward Kennedy absent, to appoint Murphy as city manager effective Monday, with an annual salary of $175,000 to be accrued hourly and paid on a weekly basis.
According to the Memorandum of Understanding, a copy of which was provided to The Sun, Murphy's employment is governed by the personnel ordinance as it sets forth certain benefits including vacation time, sick leave, holidays, personal days, family leave, bereavement leave and personal leave. Murphy is also subject to the city's grade and step schedule, but he will not be entitled to compensation for unused accumulated sick leave. Murphy will have full use of a city automobile and agrees to comply with the city's vehicle-use policy.
Murphy told the council during his interview he would not require an employment contract, then confirmed last week he would not seek a contract.
Murphy, who was in attendance during the public portion of Tuesday night's meeting, did not stick around for the hour-long executive session during which the council discussed his agreement as well as pending, unrelated litigation.
Murphy is a Lowell Democrat who has served in the House of Representatives since 1997, including service on the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee. He made his farewell speech in the House Tuesday. He lives in the city's Highlands neighborhood, which he has represented along with the Acre neighborhood.
Before serving in elected office, Murphy worked for 13 years at Lowell City Hall as an assistant city solicitor, from 1983-1996. Murphy has operated a private law practice, based in Chelmsford, since 1983. In that capacity, he has represented the management at the Lowell Housing Authority, the driver's union at the Lowell Regional Transit Authority and the Dracut School Committee. He said last week he will leave that private practice before taking the reins at City Hall.
Murphy will follow Bernie Lynch, who served 7 1/2 years and whose resignation was effective March 10. Murphy will be the city's 16th city manager since Lowell adopted Plan E government.