February 5, 2016, 8:00 PM
|Working hard or hardly working|
As greedily threatened, the City Council on Friday glommed a 32% — $36,000 — pay raise while more modestly hiking the salaries of other elected officials.
The beneficiaries include Mayor de Blasio, who, honorably, announced that he would return the addition to his paycheck to the city treasury.
De Blasio properly recognized that he ran for, and was elected to, an office with the set salary of $225,000. Those were the conditions of the job, and he is sticking with them rather than pocketing $258,750 after a 15% hike.
At the same time, de Blasio is abiding by a standard set for Washington by the United States Constitution. There, to avoid conflicts of interests, members of Congress seated in one term may vote hikes only for members after an election in another term.
On that score, the mayor’s hands will be germ-free when the Council’s pay-raise bill lands on his desk. At that point, to further clean up the mess the members have made, the mayor must veto the measure.
De Blasio cannot in good conscience give his stamp of approval to the Council’s excessive hike after limiting the general municipal workforce to smaller boosts — and right now holding fast to 1% annual raises for cops.
The salaries of the city’s electeds have not been adjusted in a decade. This year, a pay raise commission recommended increases that were roughly in line with inflation and were balanced based on the responsibility of the office.
In the Council’s case, the panel went further by recommending a 23% hike from $112,500 to $138,315. It justified the generous sum by calling on the members to relinquish additional stipends, called lulus, that have padded their incomes.
In an important step toward reform, the Council agreed to strip the speaker of the power to dole out lulus to loyal members. The recommended raise was well designed to replace that lost income.
But it wasn’t good enough for a Council in which some members seriously advocated for a $192,000 salary for themselves. So, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito settled without justification on $148,500 — taking the unprecedented step of blowing past the recommendation of the salary commission by more than $10,000.
Police officers, who risk their lives, make roughly half what a Council member does. The two cops shot Thursday night have incomes of $55,189 and $56,870.
Over the last decade, the PBA has settled contracts covering six years, with raises totaling 18%, including two despised 1% hikes imposed by an arbitrator.
Blasio has offered 9% for the remaining four years, in line with settlements reached with the rest of the municipal workforce.
The percentages total to 27% — far less than the Council’s 32%. Outrageously, the members’ $36,000 raise nearly matches the NYPD rookie base salary of $41,975. In other words, the Council has been happy to limit the pay of municipal workers and then to grab more for itself.
The mayor cannot let a hyper-privileged 51-member bunch exceed the generous pattern he set for almost 300,000 employees. Seven members voted no, and they are to be praised. De Blasio must slap sense into the rest.