Boston mayor, city councilors seek hefty pay raises

AP News
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Posted: Aug 31, 2015 4:00 PM

BOSTON (AP) — Boston's mayor and City Council are again looking for pay raises that could make them among the best compensated of comparable cities across the country.

Mayor Marty Walsh filed a proposal Monday giving his office a $24,000 raise to $199,000 a year. He also proposed raising councilor salaries by $12,000 to $99,500.

Not to be outdone, City Council President Bill Linehan proposed to boost pay on the 13-member panel by $17,500, from $87,500 to $105,000. He also proposed giving the mayor a $35,000 raise, from $175,000 to $210,000.

The proposals, which were filed ahead of Wednesday's regular council meeting, come after last year's protracted public spat between the two sides of city government over council pay.

Walsh, through a spokeswoman, called his proposal a fair compromise, noting the council has historically received half the salary of the mayor.

"The Council has not received a raise in nearly a decade and he believes this compromise is a fair and appropriate step to move forward and allow the City to return to addressing the priorities facing Boston," spokeswoman Bonnie McGilpin said.

In 2014, the council approved a $20,000 pay raise, only to have Walsh veto it and send the issue to an independent board to make a recommendation.

The advisory board produced a report in July suggesting a $9,500 raise (to $97,000) for the council and a $19,000 one (to $194,000) for the mayor — or a roughly 11 percent raise in line with what department heads and Cabinet-level positions have received in recent years.

But the advisory board also said a change in salary may not be warranted, based on a survey of 11 comparable cities, including Baltimore, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle.

The survey found Boston in the top half of the pack. The highest mayor's salary among the cohort was San Francisco, at $285,319, and the highest council salaries were in Philadelphia, at $127,085.

Linehan called the July proposal, at least in regards to council pay, "totally inadequate" and promised to file his own plan. The council president, who had originally sought an $112,500 salary last year, didn't immediately comment Monday.

Walsh said he won't accept the mayor's office pay raise, if approved. His proposal is effective following the next elections for mayor and council.

Councilors, who serve two-year terms, are up for re-election in November and all but five are running unopposed, including Linehan, who represents South Boston. Walsh is not up for re-election until 2017.