Robert W. Healy

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Robert W. Healy
City Manager of Cambridge, Massachusetts
In office
Preceded by James Sullivan
Succeeded by Richard Rossi
Acting City Manager of Lowell, Massachusetts
In office
Preceded by James Sullivan
Succeeded by Paul J. Sheehy
Personal details
Born August 1943 (age 72)
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Residence Lowell, Massachusetts
Alma mater University of Massachusetts Amherst
Lowell State College

Robert W. Healy (born August 1943) is an American city manager who was the longest-serving city manager in the history of Cambridge, Massachusetts. He served from July 1, 1981 until June 30, 2013. Prior to assuming his current position, Healy initially served as acting city manager from July 1, 1981 to December 14, 1981. He also served as acting City Manager of Lowell, Massachusetts in 1974.

Early life[edit]

Healy was born in the North Cambridge neighborhood of Cambridge. During his youth his family moved to Billerica, Massachusetts. He attended the Catholic Keith Academy in Lowell and earned a bachelor's degree in English from University of Massachusetts Amherst in 1965. After graduating he taught English and coached football and hockey at Tewksbury Memorial High School. In 1969, Healy left teaching to become a probation officer at the Lowell District Court.[1]

Early government career[edit]

In 1970, Healy was hired by Lowell Mayor Richard P. Howe to run his city hall office. That same year he earned his master's degree in educational administration from Lowell State College. Later that year he was named assistant city manager by city manager James Sullivan. When Sullivan departed Lowell for Cambridge in 1974, Healy served as acting city manager for one month.[1] State Representative Paul Sheehy was chosen over Healy for the permanent job by the Lowell City Council after 53 ballots.[2] After being passed over, Healy followed Sullivan to Cambridge to be deputy city manager. After Sheehy was fired in 1975, Healy applied for the job again.[1] He was a finalist alongside William Taupier and Armand Mercier. Taupier was selected after sixteen ballots.[3]

Cambridge city manager[edit]

On May 18, 1981, Sullivan announced that he was resigning effective July 1 to become President of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. Healy was Sullivan's preferred successor and on June 8 the city council voted 8 to 1 to name him acting city manager upon Sullivan's departure.[4][5] On December 14, 1981, Healy was named permanent manager.[6] Healy retired as City Manager on June 30, 2013.[7]


In recent history, the media has highlighted the salary of the City Manager as being one of the highest in the State of Massachusetts.[8][9] The salary is higher than that of the Mayor of the City of Boston,[10][11] some opinion editorials claim his salary is double that of the Governor of Massachusetts,[12][13] or in some instances, almost that of the President of the United States.[14] In February 2011, City Councillor Leland Cheung pushed a policy order that would call for greater transparency in city council contracts for the Office of the City Manager's salary.[15]

Healy fought a controversial 13-year legal battle against charges of racial discrimination. In 1998, four city employees filed charges of racial discrimination. After two trials and repeated appeals, the City was found liable for retaliation, not discrimination, against one of the victims and was ordered to pay a $4.5 million judgment.[16] With interest and fees, Cambridge paid a total of $8.3 million in this case. shortly thereafter, Cambridge settled of the other discrimination cases, the terms of which were not revealed.[17]


  1. ^ a b c Lafleur, Michael (June 25, 2006). "In Cambridge, Healy stands test of time". The Sun. 
  2. ^ "Sheehy named Lowell manager on 53d ballot". The Boston Globe. May 1, 1974. 
  3. ^ "Holyoke's mayor gets Lowell job". The Boston Globe. October 15, 1975. 
  4. ^ Hirshson, Paul E (May 19, 1981). "Cambridge manager leaving for Hub job". Boston Globe. 
  5. ^ Hirshson, Paul (June 9, 1981). "Cambridge names Healy manager". The Boston Globe. 
  6. ^ "The City Clerks and City Managers of Cambridge". Retrieved December 23, 2013. 
  7. ^ Parker, Brock (28 June 2013). "After 32 years, Cambridge city manager's tenure nears end". Boston Globe. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  8. ^ Anon. (February 16, 2011). "Cambridge city manager’s pay shows lack of council oversight". The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 30, 2011. 
  9. ^ Walter V. Robinson; Jesse Nankin (February 9, 2011). "Even retired, Cambridge city manager would reap extraordinary rewards". Northeastern University. Watchdog New England. Retrieved December 30, 2011. 
  10. ^ Meyer, Fred (February 25, 2011). "Healy’s service worth the fat paycheck". The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 30, 2011. 
  11. ^ City of Cambridge (December 24, 2009). "Robert W. Healy Jr.’s most recent contract" (PDF). City of Cambridge. Watchdog New England. Retrieved December 30, 2011. 
  12. ^ Thomas, Jen (September 2, 2010). "Cambridge city manager tops list of highest paid city workers". Wicked Local: Cambridge. Retrieved December 30, 2011. 
  13. ^ Ed-op (November 17, 2011). "A battle closer to home". The Baystate Banner. vol. 47, No. 15. Retrieved December 30, 2011. 
  14. ^ "Cambridge city manager's salary almost as much as Obama's pay". Wicked Local: Cambridge. August 11, 2011. Retrieved December 30, 2011. 
  15. ^ Levy, Marc (February 27, 2011). "Public should see city manager’s proposed pay, order says". Cambridge Day. Retrieved December 30, 2011. 
  16. ^ Irons, Meghan (20 August 2011). "Cambridge won't seek appeals in bias cases". Boston Globe. Retrieved 30 June 2013. 
  17. ^ Levy, Marc (13 October 2011). "First Monteiro, now final two civil rights law suits settled". Cambridge Day. Retrieved 30 Jun 2013.