MIDTOWN — The City Council voted to give itself a 32 percent raise that is thousands of dollars above what was recommended by a commission appointed by Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The Quadrennial Advisory Commission, which the mayor appoints, suggested that councilmembers' salaries be increased 23 percent from $112,500 to $138,315, and the speaker's salary jump 12 percent from $137,500 to $154,375.
The Council voted 40-7 to increase members' salary to $148,500, a 32 percent increase, and also boosted the speaker's salary 20 percent to $164,500.
Councilmembers argued that they deserved the salary increase because they were adopting a series of reforms, such as making the position full-time, eliminating bonus payments known as "lulus" for leadership positions, limiting outside income and posting financial disclosure forms online.
"For several decades, advocates, editorial boards, elected officials and the people of our city have fought for the reforms that we will be voting on today," said Councilman Ben Kallos who called the changes "amazing."
The council also argued that the commission's recommendations took the elimination of lulus into consideration when determining their salary recommendation but did not calculate the fact that the job would go from part-time to full-time.
"That is an ability, something the council members have the ability to do at this moment, that is being given up. There is a value to that and we wanted to make sure that is understood," said City Council Speaker Mark-Viverito.
Only a few councilmembers currently receive outside income and the limitation on outside income won't kick in until the start of the next term. The salary increases are retroactive to Jan. 1.
None of the other elected officials' salaries studied by the commission would increase beyond what the commission recommended in the proposed legislation, including the mayor, who would realize a 15 percent salary increase from $225,000 to $258,750.
De Blasio has said he will not take a salary increase for the remainder of this term but would accept the raise if re-elected to a second term.
Good government groups praised the council's reforms but questioned the process. Dick Dadey of Citizens Union said there should have been more public review, especially since the raises were beyond the recommendations of the commission.