The City Council has not had a pay raise in ten years, but next week, according to sources, lawmakers are poised to give themselves a large one — 32 percent.
The salary increase comes on the same day that the Council is set to vote on a controversial overhaul of the horse carriage industry. But Council members tell NY1's Courtney Gross that no deal-making is involved. Here's her report.
Lawmakers insist it's just timing.
"There's no horse trading going on," City Councilmember Rory Lancman of Queens said.
Next week, the City Council is set to give itself a 32 percent raise, according to sources, ignoring the recommendations of an independent commission, going $10,000 higher.
It's a controversial move that happens to be come at the same time the Council will consider another contentious issue: moving horse carriages off city streets and into Central Park.
That's also been a key issue for Mayor Bill de Blasio.
"I hope that there has been no horse trading, but I fear that there has been, because there is no reason for these two issues to be linked together," said Dick Dadey of the Citizens Union.
"No one in the New York City Council would trade a vote for a pay increase," member Jimmy Van Bramer of Queen said.
Right now, Councilmembers' base salary is $112,500 a year. Many make more, and almost everyone gets a stipend for chairing a committee or having a leadership position.
An independent commission charged with reviewing the salaries of elected officials recommended that the base annual salary go up to $138,000 back in December.
The Council is instead going higher to $148,500. The City Council Speaker's salary? $164,500.
"It is reflective of the time," City Councilmember Inez Barron of Brooklyn said. "It is not a part-time position."
"I think the Council Members deserve a professional salary," Lancman said.
As part of the salary increase, the Council will do away with those leadership stipends and prohibit outside income.
Anyone with a side job now can keep it until the next term in 2018. That would affect some like Councilman Peter Koo, who is also a small business owner.
"I cannot say I am going to give up my store my business for 25 years just because of an increase of $28,000," he said.
All of this a sensitive subject.
"I'll refer to the speaker," said Councilmember Fernando Cabrera of the Bronx.
She was not available.
The mayor praised the reforms that the Council is adopting. As for the specific proposal, he says he is waiting on the details.