Boston City Council votes to give itself a $12,000 raise

AP News
Posted: Oct 28, 2015 4:31 PM

BOSTON (AP) — The Boston City Council voted Wednesday to give its members a $12,000 raise just days before they go up for re-election — though most are running unopposed.

The measure, which passed on a 9-4 vote, boosts councilor annual salaries by 14 percent, up to $99,500. It's the first raise for the 13-member panel since 2006.

The proposal was submitted by Mayor Marty Walsh and gives his office a $24,000 raise, to $199,000. Walsh, a first-term Democrat, has said he won't accept the pay bump.

The passage places Boston councilors among the best compensated of comparable cities, including Baltimore, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle.

The measure would have become law if the council had done nothing: Under Boston's city charter, a mayoral proposal becomes law in 60 days unless the council acts. In this case, the deadline is Nov. 3.

The raise will go into effect for councilors after the next City Council election, on Nov. 3, and for the mayor after the next mayoral election, which is in 2017.

Councilor Michael Flaherty said he requested the vote in the interest of transparency.

Council pay has been a flashpoint in Boston politics since September 2014, when Council President Bill Linehan proposed boosting council member salaries by $25,000 to $112,500, a 29 percent increase.

The debate became the first major sticking point between the newly elected mayor and the council. It's also been a prominent issue in this year's city elections, though most council members are running unopposed.

Linehan's $25,000 raise planned was widely panned, and the council ultimately voted for a slightly lower salary of $107,500 last year.

Walsh vetoed the raise anyway, forming an advisory board to study the issue and present recommendations.

After the release of the advisory study this year, Walsh proposed a $99,500 raise in September. Linehan filed his own plan to boost salaries to $105,000.

Walsh has called his plan a fair compromise that allows city leaders to move onto more pressing challenges facing New England's largest city.