NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council members, and other elected city leaders may soon be getting a pay raise.
As CBS2’s Sonia Rincon reported Tuesday, a published report in the New York Post said the Council is asking for a hefty raise, while changing the rules on how much councilmembers can earn.
City elected leaders have not had a raise in nine years. The Post report said the Council is floating the idea of a whopping 42 percent raise $155,000 a year.
CBS2 asked Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito about it.
“I can’t verify, one way or the other,” she said.
The report said the pay hike would make a councilmembers’ job officially full-time and limit outside income.
“The vast majority of my colleagues put in more than 40 hours a week,” said Queens City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-32nd).
Ulrich is also in favor of the idea of eliminating so-called “lulus” — extra fees members get for things like chairing committees.
“Those stipends are not given to everybody. They’re not rewarded on a merit basis. They’re really given to individual members on a political consideration, and I really do think the time has come to get rid of them,” Ulrich said.
Fritz Schwarz heads the independent Quadrennial Commission that will make recommendations on all these issues. The commission is convened every four years, but hasn’t met in nearly a decade, since salary for Mayor Michael Bloomberg wasn’t an issue.
“I think one of the interesting things as you think about public pay is it needs to be high enough so it attracts people into public work,” Schwarz said.
But Schwarz also said there are traditional ceilings on what officials should earn…
“Particularly in today’s worries about income inequality, that’s a factor we have to take into account,” he said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio shared his thoughts on the subject:
“I do not think it’s appropriate for me to benefit from that while I’m in this term,” de Blasio said. “I want to hear what they have to say before I pass any judgement.”
Schwarz said he has not heard anything from the City Council yet.
CBS2 asked New Yorkers about a generous raise for city elected officials.
“If they make it a full time job, and they attend to their duties, I’m sure it’s fine,” said Gary Divis of Manhattan.
But Chris Page of the Bronx said: “I think this mayor is doing OK as it is. Let’s focus on the guys who are in the streets.”
The decision is now in the hands of the Quadrennial Commission.
“They’ll come out with their recommendations within the next month and a half,” Mark-Viverito said. “We’re having conversations to decide internally what we will do.”
Whether the commission hears from the council or not, it wants to hear from the public. Two public hearings have been planned for the issue of raising salaries for elected officials, at the following times and locations:
• Monday, Nov. 23, at 5 p.m. in the student lounge at the Brooklyn Law School, at 250 Joralemon St. in Brooklyn.
• Tuesday, Nov. 24, at 5 p.m., in Room 1/202 at the CUNY School of Law, at 2 Court Square in Long Island City, Queens.
Meanwhile, the head of the city’s largest municipal workers’ union said elected officials deserve a raise, but there are still thousands of city workers who have not yet received a fair wage increase.