Members of the New York City Council will be taking home extra money in their paychecks soon as they collectively accepted a raise that they voted on themselves last Friday. They will be receiving a third over their current base salaries, according to published reports. Passing in a resounding 40 to 7 vote, the council members will now receive an annual salary of $148,500, a significant increase from their base of $112,500. That translates into a 32% pay hike.
Bills to ban most forms of outside income, require online financial disclosures and end paid allowances for committee work also passed by wide margins.
In a statement released to the media, City Council Minority Leader Steven Matteo, said the Republicans didn't support the increase because it exceeded the recommendations of the pay raise commission that Mayor de Blasio convened. That commission called for raises that would bring their salaries $138,315, according to a Daily News report.
“We felt the salary recommendations made by the Quadrennial Commission were the starting point of a public conversation about our jobs and our compensation. However, once it became clear that the proposed legislation by the Council would go beyond those recommendations, it precluded any potential support from our delegation," he said.
City Council speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito said that the salary reforms would “increase transparency and fairness” and added that the extra money was warranted because the Council as part of the deal is agreeing to give up outside income, as well as extra salary they received for chairing committees, according to the Daily News.
The NYT reported that Councilman Paul Vallone of Queens offered an explanation of his vote against the salary increase. As an attorney and a Democrat, Vallone is one of four council members who earn a significant amount of money from outside income. In recent days, he had sought to rally support for a last-minute amendment that would cap, rather than ban, outside income like his, which comes from his legal practice, but chose not to introduce it.
The report in the Times also noted that the council session was interrupted at one point by the silent protest of nine staff members from the offices of Councilwomen Inez D. Barron of Brooklyn and Rosie Mendez of Manhattan. They stood with matching white shirts with black type reading “Raises 4 All.” (Staff pay is set by each council member, not by city law.)