Members of the City Council will vote on a bill next week that would give them a salary increase.
The vote comes just a month after The Independent Advisory Quadrennial Commission, a three-member panel convened by Mayor Bill de Blasio in September, released its findings. In its official report, the group concluded all of the city’s elected officials — including the mayor, public advocate, comptroller and council members — are due for a raise.
The commission recommended that council members receive a base pay of $138,315 — an increase of $25,815, or 23 percent, from the current salary of $112,500.
The panel recommended that the council salary increases be tied to the council enacting several reforms, such as the elimination of committee chairmanship bonuses known as “lulus” and banning outside income by making council jobs full time.
The commission’s recommendations, however, are purely advisory and bear no power over what the council could draft in legislation.
“They have the power to do anything they wish,” Frederick Schwarz Jr., who chaired the commission, said after the report’s release in December. “We have said that our recommendations on pay for the council are inextricably related to our recommendations on getting rid of lulus and classifying the council job as a full-time job, as every other city elected official is.”
Council sources confirmed the council will vote on a bill to increase the salaries, and that the bill will include “significant reforms.”
The salary increase will be significant, but less than the $80,000 amount a small group of members were reportedly asking for, council sources confirmed.
Eats Harem’s Mark-Viverito called the $80,000 figure “ridiculous” when it first came up, but acknowledged that the cost of living in the city has continually climbed in recent years, making it harder for some to afford living and working in the city.
In her official pitch to the commission, Mark-Viverito asked the panel to approve raises for the council, but declined to specify how much the raises should be.
In a letter submitted to the commission, Mark-Viverito cited the rising cost of living in the city, saying member salaries are no longer on par with private and public sector jobs with similar duties and obligations. The speaker also argued the 51-member body has become “more productive” and its work “more complex” over the last ten years — the last time the members received a raise.
Mayor Bill de Blasio submitted his response to the panel’s recommendations earlier this month, agreeing with the salary hike recommendations but declining to take one for himself during this term. Since de Blasio issued his response, council members have been working on their own recommendations and draft legislation to approve the raise, which has to be enacted through local law.
Council sources confirmed to POLITICO New York that the bill has been drafted and will be sent to members’ desk as early as Thursday morning in order to properly “age” the bill — a procedure which must first take place before it is sent to the floor for a vote.
The council also plans to reschedule its meeting from Wednesday to Friday of next week.
A spokesperson for the council declined to comment.
Photo credit: Mark-Viverito. (New York City Council)