City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito Seeks Raise For Council members

December 5, 2015

Melissa-Mark-Viverito-IOU_7934The New York News Daily reports that the Harlem City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito made her plea for a raise for Council members to the city pay raise commission, saying in a letter to the group that salaries should be increased without specifying a number.

“The compensation level for Council Members has not changed in close to a decade,” she wrote of the 51 pols, who make $112,500, plus bonuses for chairing committees.

“It is critical that Council Member compensation accurately reflect the essential nature of their service, as well as the economic realities of living in the City; not just for the benefit of current Council Members but so the institution can continue to attract future legislators who are the very best our City has to offer,” Mark-Viverito wrote. “I therefore believe it is clear that Council Member salaries should be increased.”

She went on to attach more than 4,000 pages of documentation — listing thousands of laws and resolutions the body has passed and hearings it has held since 2006.

Some Council members sought a raise as high as $192,500, the Daily News reported — a whopping 71% increase.

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Mark-Viverito has dismissed that as a “ridiculous amount.” But she made clear in the letter Thursday she is angling for a raise — crunching numbers to boast that the number of laws passed in the current Council session has increased 32% over the last session, and legislative service requests, where a member asks for legislation to be drafted, are up 105%.

“During the past ten years the Council has become more productive and its work and processes far more complex,” she wrote. “At the same time the cost of living in the City has risen significantly and Member salaries are not on par with other private and public sector jobs with comparable duties and obligations.”

Her letter does not make mention of restricting Council members ability to earn outside income, a reform some have floated in exchange for a raise. Nor does it mention scrapping the controversial “lulus” members get for hearing committees.

Meanwhile, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz is also apparently angling for a raise.

He submitted a 427 pages of paperwork to the commission, including copies of six of his State of the Borough speeches, economic development reports, land use analysis, and power point presentations of Bronx parks.

His rep said he gave the data at the Commission’s urging after they inquired about the details of his job.

The Quadrennial Advisory Commission, appointed to consider elected officials’ salaries, is expected to make its recommendations in the coming weeks. The deadline to submit comments was Friday.

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