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MAP: Council Members Just Got a Raise. See How Much More They Make Than You

By  Katie Honan and Nigel Chiwaya | February 10, 2016 7:29am 

NEW YORK CITY — Let no one say politics doesn't pay.

Fresh off their brand-new pay raise, every City Council member now makes more than the median income of the district they represent, with some making more than seven times as much.

Council members in 35 of the city's 51 districts make more than twice what their constituents bring home, and three make more than five times as much.

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito — who will bring in $164,500 this year with the raise — makes 7.36 times the median income of $22,359 in her district, which includes parts of East Harlem and the South Bronx.

The widest wage gap is in the now-vacant 17th District in The Bronx, in a seat most recently held by Maria del Carmen Arroyo. Whoever wins that election will earn 8.19 times the average constituent's $18,140 income.

The City Council overwhelmingly voted in favor of a 32 percent raise last week, bringing the salary up to $148,500 (and $164,500 for the Council speaker.) With the raise, an unmarried Council member now makes more than 95.7 percent of New Yorkers.

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The spike is more than what was suggested by the independent Quadrennial Advisory Commission, which recommended only a 23 percent raise. Only seven council members voted against the pay hike.

Council members defended the additional money, saying their jobs are full-time, they often take money out of their own pockets to help constituents and new rules limit their outside income.

Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez — who now makes three times what typical residents in Washington Heights and Inwood make — thought they should make even more, requesting a $175,000 salary.

"We have a right to make a living to support our families," Rodriguez told the Daily News, adding that some members have master's or doctorate degrees.

Rodriguez has a master's degree in education and previously worked as a teacher. The maximum salary for teachers is $100,049, according to the Department of Education.

While Council members say they need the money to live in the city, many residents in their districts get by on far less.

DNAinfo New York analyzed the median income in each of the City Council districts compared with the new raises, mapping out the widening gap between elected officials and residents.