Chief-Leader
Updated: 4:58 pm, Jan. 15, 2016

 

Mayor Signs Off on 23% Pay Raise for Council

Won’t Take Own Hike Yet

By MARK TOOR

    
PATRICK J. LYNCH: ‘An insult to every cop.’  
 
MELISSA MARK-VIVERITO: Pay goes to $154,375.  
 
MAYOR DE BLASIO: Approves hikes for others.  

In a belated Christmas present to elected city officials, Mayor de Blasio announced Jan. 13 that he was accepting the Quadrennial Advisory Commission’s recommendations to increase sal­aries by 23 percent for Council Members and at least 12 percent for other officials.

As he said in December, Mr. de Blasio made clear that he is not accepting a raise for himself and that his salary will remain at $225,000. The commission had recommended a boost to $258,750.

PBA: Adds Insult to Injury

The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which rejected the city’s pattern for uniformed raises of 11 percent over seven years but failed to do better in arbitration last fall, attacked the pay increases.

“A 15-percent raise for the Mayor, 23 percent for Council Members and a 37-percent raise for the Speaker is an abomination and an insult to every police officer in this city who is expected to make do with two 1-percent raises,” said PBA President Pat­rick J. Lynch, referring to the arbitration result.

“The Council may have to give up lucrative side jobs, but many police officers are forced to work a second job just to feed their families. Police officers who risk their lives to protect this city should be paid a fair market wage that will allow them to support their families in a decent manner. How dare they accept these unconscionable increases while underpaying the very men and women who put their lives on the line to protect them.”

Not Out of Line

But the last salary adjustment for elected officials was in 2006, and for the period of Aug. 1, 2006 through July 30, 2012, Police Officers have received 18 percent in raises. Should the union get the same raises already agreed to by other uniformed unions, by Aug. 1, 2015 the total for that nine-year period would reach 21.5 percent, and with compounding would exceed the Council hike. The City Council must now vote on the Commission’s recommendations, and if they pass they will take effect retroactive to Jan. 1.

In a letter to Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Vi­verito, Mr. de Blasio said the commission had recommended for the first time “that being a Council Member should be formally recognized as a full-time position and that members should be largely prohibited from engaging in outside employment.

“Such a proposal would require all Council Members to wholly dedicate themselves to their office and forego any non-city employment that could require a significant amount of their time.”

The commission recommended that Council sal­aries be raised from the current $112,500 to $138,315, a 23-percent increase. The raise folds in “lulus,” or pay for additional duties such as chairing a committee received by all but three Council Members. The total of lulus was divided by the number of Members, accounting for $8,940 of the increase.

As Speaker, Ms. Mark-Vi­ve­rito would earn $154,375, a figure that includes the $25,000 lulu previously paid for the position.

New Salaries for Others

Comptroller Scott Stringer would be paid $209,050, a raise of 12 percent plus an additional 1 percent for increased auditing responsibilities. Public Advocate Letitia James would get $184,800. Borough Presidents would get $179,200. District Attorneys would receive $212,800.

The DAs had asked in October for raises of $60,000—or 31.58 percent—but the commission recommended the standard 12 percent, which comes out to $22,800.

“The commission examined a wide variety of factors in evaluating compensation,” Mr. de Blasio wrote. “Of particular interest is that this commission, for the first time ever, considered elected-official salaries as they relate to pay for working New Yorkers. They also studied traditional metrics like the responsibilities of each office and the number of employees they supervise. They evaluated the benefits package our public employees receive relative to their counterparts in other jurisdictions.”

The commission was chaired by Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr., chief counsel of the Brennan Center for Justice, who served as the city’s Corporation Counsel and chaired the city Campaign Finance Board; Jill Bright, chief administrative officer of Conde Nast; and Paul Quintero, chief executive officer of Accion East, which provides small-business loans to entrepreneurs.

Their report can be found online.