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De Blasio Deserves a Raise, Mayor-Appointed Board Says

By Jeff Mays | December 22, 2015 9:55am
 Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and other elected city officials should get a raise, according to a commission tasked with examining the issue.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and other elected city officials should get a raise, according to a commission tasked with examining the issue.
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Demetrius Freeman/Mayoral Photography Office

CITY HALL — Mayor Bill de Blasio and other elected officials deserve a 15 percent raise, according to a mayor-appointed commission tasked with examining the issue.

De Blasio should get a $33,750 raise — bringing his total salary to $258,750, according to the Quadrennial Advisory Commission, which cited increased responsibilities and the cost of living.

But de Blasio, heading into his third year as mayor, has said he would not take an increased salary unless re-elected to a second term.

"Regardless of the report's recommendation, I will not accept a raise this term,” he said.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito's salary would jump to $154,375 from the current $137,500, which includes a $25,000 bonus for serving as speaker.

The commission is appointed by the mayor as required by the city's administrative code. De Blasio must now submit the report to the City Council for a vote, along with his recommendation to approve, reject or change the plan within 30 days.

Elected city officials have not received a raise since 2006, the last time the commission was appointed.

2015 Quadrennial Commission Report

Mark-Viverito said the Council "will be reviewing the recommendation," in a brief, two-sentence statement.

The commission recommends making the Council position full-time, which would prevent members from having outside employment. Only nine council members out of 51 currently receive outside work income.

The report also suggests eliminating a system known as "lulus" where Council members receive additional pay for chairing committees, which costs taxpayers $447,000 per year.

Under the report's recommendation, the lulu would be folded into councilmembers' base salary, which would increase to $138,315 from $112,500, a 23 percent increase.

Other elected offices that would see an increase include the comptroller, whose salary would increase 13 percent to $209,050 from $185,000; the public advocate, whose salary would increase 12 percent to $184,800 from $165,000; borough president, 12 percent to $179,200 from $160,000, and district attorney, 12 percent to $212,800 from $190,000.

The recommended $22,800 increase for district attorneys is far less than the $60,000 raise the city's district attorneys requested in a letter, according to the commission.

The district attorneys had requested a raise dating back to 2011 and automatic cost of living increases until 2020 be included in the salary upgrade. The commission rejected the argument and noted that none of the district attorneys came to testify before the commission.

In fact, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer was the only elected official to testify before the commission.

Brewer testified that her fellow elected officials were "afraid to come and talk," though City Council members have pushed for raises behind the scenes and Mark-Viverito submitted a letter with 4,000 pages of attachments outlining the council's increased activity in recent years, according to the commission.

The commission also recommended that the raises take effect Jan. 1, 2016 and not January 2018, after the next municipal elections. Waiting until after the election would mean city officials had gone 11 years without a raise.

There also should not be automatic cost-of-living increases, as suggested by the district attorneys, so that elected officials will remain "accountable to the electorate for their actions on pay," the report says.

The commission said it is aware its recommendations will be controversial for New York City residents on both sides of the pay-raise issue. 

"Some will say our proposed raises are too high. Others that they are too low. There is no magic number," the report reads. "We are confident, however, that our proposed raises are based on analysis of the data and public policy considerations — and are fair as well."