The City Council voted 9-4 today to increase councilors' wages from $87,500 to $107,500 a year, starting in 2016.
The delay in raises means councilors won't have to face potential fines and jail time for possible violations of state ethics laws because the raises will only apply to councilors elected in the 2015 city elections.
The council agreed to the new amount at the request of Councilor Steve Murphy (at large), who said the only people objecting to giving councilors a pay increase are "editorialists" who he said mostly don't live in Boston and don't work at night, on weekends or even on the steps of their houses of worship as he said he and other councilors always do. He predicted this "tempest in a teapot" will soon disappear. Referring again to the out-of-town editorialists, he said his proposed increase "should shut them up."
Murphy added he also objected to the "political" advice of a city lawyer, who warned the council last week about the ethics issue. The 9-4 vote means the council can override any veto of the measure by Mayor Walsh.
Councilor Tito Jackson (Roxbury) voted for the raise, saying councilors should not have to worry about being thrust into poverty in service to the public. He noted he almost lost his house to foreclosure because of his first run for office - during which he had to quit a state job - and that he doesn't want to see people not run for the office just because of the pay.
Councilor Charles Yancey (Dorchester) said he's amazed his wife hasn't divorced him over his current pay and that they could not afford the house they live in if they were looking today.
Council President Bill Linehan, who intially proposed an even higher increase, said the council had a responsibility and a duty to consider pay raises. Like Murphy, Linehan raised the specter of newspapers, although in a different vein: The cost of the City Council, he said, was far less per year per resident than the cost of even a week's subscription to a daily newspaper.
Councilors Matt O'Malley and Josh Zakim said the proposed raise was just too high. They were joined by councilors Ayanna Pressley and Michelle Wu in voting against the raise.