Hey, there! Log in / Register

Advisory board calls for 11% City Council pay raise; some pissed councilors say that's just not enough

City Councilor Frank Baker

Frank Baker: Councilors worth more than department heads.

A board assembled by the mayor to look at raises for city councilors today recommended an 11% raise, which would bring council pay to roughly $97,000 starting in January.

City Councilor Bill Linehan said he will file a measure on Wednesday for a higher increase, Mayor Walsh's past veto of a higher raise be damned.

"We're not going to back down," Linehan said.

At a council hearing today, Compensation Advisory Board Chairwoman Deborah Shah said the board looked at salaries and council responsibilities in Baltimore, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Seattle, as well as the salaries of Boston department heads in coming up with its proposal. She said council pay has not kept up with the rate of inflation since the last raise in 2006 - but said that if you had gone back 20 years, council pay was well above the inflation rate.

Linehan, however, said councilors haven't gotten a raise in 9 years and probably won't ask for one for another five to eight years, so the amount is just not enough, especially since Boston's inflation rate is higher than in other parts of the country. And he said that, unlike city department heads, any raise the council gets won't be retroactive. He noted that when he worked in the administration of Mayor Menino, he made $103,500.

"We are undervalued and your report devalues us," Linehan said. "I can't for the life of me figure out how you got to $97,000."

Linehan said the board's report was like a report by somebody who had never shopped in a supermarket before. "We know the value of a banana," he said. "We know the value of steak."

"The report is suspect," he said, adding the report should have been completed in 60 to 90 days, not the nine months it took.

Councilor Frank Baker (Dorchester) said councilors do more for residents than middle managers making the same amount - and that Boston councilors should be judged on their effectiveness, not on the powers defined in the city charter. "I think our jobs are arguably more demanding than department heads," he said.

Baker tore into what he said were errors in the report: Boston district councilors represent 70,000 people, not the 49,000 people cited by the board. Board member Chris English said the board divided the city's population by the total number of councilors - even though four of them represent the entire city, not districts.

Baker said he found any comparison to Dallas, as used in the report, "disrespectful."

At-large Councilor Steve Murphy disputed that the Boston City Council is the "least powerful" of the city councils in the five cities and said all the council's work and authority seems to have been undervalued in the report. Linehan angrily questioned why no Boston city councilors or the council attorney were able to make the case to the board. English said that was an unfortunate oversight.

Murphy said the council more than proved its worth in helping the city keep its triple-A bond rating during difficult economic times. He said that in bringing up huge raises of 20 years ago, the board was setting a bad example for collective bargaining for other city workers.

Councilor Matt O'Malley (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury), who voted against large raises last year, said the council should consider a process in which council salaries are pegged to the inflation rate so that they don't have to keep going through the awkward task of considering its own raises.

At-large Councilor Michelle Wu, who also voted against raises last year, said she found it "pretty annoying" the issue was still coming up.

Councilor Mark Ciommo (Allston/Brighton) said he has worked for eight years now without a raise and doesn't think that's fair. At a minimum, councilors are entitled to at least a raise equal to the cost of living increase over the past eight years.

Councilor Charles Yancey (Dorchester) said there are currently some 3,800 city employees with higher base salaries than city councilors.

Neighborhoods: 
Topics: 

Ad:
Like the job UHub is doing? Consider a contribution. Thanks!

Comments

Then resign and find a real job in the private sector, if you have any marketable skills that is.

up
Voting closed 0

The report clearly found that seats are not being lost to the private sector to any appreciable extent.

up
Voting closed 0

a) Notes and Staff Notes from the Public Hearing are available by email request at
http://www.cityofboston.gov/contact/?id=138

Notes and Staff Notes supplement the b) video
at
http://www.cityofboston.gov/citycouncil/cc_video_library.asp?id=9876

It's regrettable the Captioning is on black background instead of c) transparent background that doesn't blockout the picture including the desktop name holders.

However WGBH Media Access Group Captioning http://main.wgbh.org/wgbh/pages/mag/ can make available the d) full transcript of the WGBH Captions by email request via
http://www.cityofboston.gov/contact/?id=35

up
Voting closed 0

If I ran for city council next year solely with a platform of accepting the current pay rate, how many votes could I expect? For any undecided voters, my other skills involve not being a complete idiot. Also, I'm good at Excel.

up
Voting closed 0

Update the Boundaries of Boston Wards/Precincts !... to reflect communities' constituencies
http://bostonwardsprecincts.blogspot.com

up
Voting closed 0

Yes never fight for what you think is right just give up immediately. We can all just quit our jobs, go to the free job store and get a new one whenever we want!

And only work in the private sector because that's what ^^^ this guy does and we should all randomly be just like him.

up
Voting closed 0

are in danger of getting priced out of Boston?

/snark

up
Voting closed 0

For having a pulse and making funny suggestions every now and then, like paying gangbangers or building houses one can buy with $25,000 income - not too shabby.

up
Voting closed 0

Their salaries should be equivalent to what a person would take home working forty hours a week in Boston at minimum wage, then watch how quickly the minimum wage would go up every year.

up
Voting closed 0

Sample Specimen Ballot. District 4. District 7.
Election Tues Sep 8 2015
http://www.cityofboston.gov/elections/upcoming/ballots.asp

Anyone know how to post an illustrative District 4 Sample Specimen Ballot and an illustrative District 7 Sample Specimen Ballot here?

Sample Specimen Ballot available by email request at
http://www.cityofboston.gov/contact/?id=33

up
Voting closed 0

Just sayin'

up
Voting closed 0

...most other people working in the private sector get annual 2-4% increases...I wish I could demand an 11% raise with and still have a job the next day.

up
Voting closed 0

That's 11% for their first raise since 2006, which works out to under 2% a year. If you worked at a place that didn't give you a raise in 9 years, would you still be working there? And if you stayed, wouldn't you think that 11% isn't that bad.

That said, an independent assessor said 11% is fair, so be it.

up
Voting closed 0

Go suck a lemon!

up
Voting closed 0

And good for our Wu and O'Malley who once again voted against this. Glad to see Wu is annoyed as much as I am about this.

Linehan really needs to go, him and Murphy. Both will be re-elected next election anyways.

up
Voting closed 0

In my eyes, she is the best of all the city councilors. She has good ideas and is easy to talk with.

up
Voting closed 0

I had a nice conversation with her a few weeks ago about Verizon FiOS on twitter. (yes really). Extremely approachable, sincerely wanted to hear what I had to say, and didn't really care that I wasn't a Boston resident. (however, she was intrigued by my knowledge of tech and the lack there of FiOS in the city which is why I think she kept talking to me).

She truly is a politician for the people. Kudos to her. I hope she continues this, she will go far with that attitude.

up
Voting closed 0

Now we have two reps!

up
Voting closed 0

"lives" are two very different things.

up
Voting closed 0

If you don't live within two block of where you were born then fuck you.

Give me a break. She's one of the best people on the council right now.

up
Voting closed 0

Councilor Wu would be a great Council President ! A Councilor most likely to improve Records Management at Boston City Council, release online the Stenographic Record of Council Public Meetings for hard of hearing folks, for deaf folks, for all folks, release online the Full Text of Captions from webcasts of Council Public Meetings, Format online Public Documents in Searchable format.

Note that Searchable Format is more compatible with screen reading mechanisms used by vision impaired folks.

Open Boston City Council for hard of hearing folks, for deaf folks, for vision impaired folks, for all folks without requiring in person attendance.

Public Meetings of Boston City Council can be held in the neighborhoods from time to time.

up
Voting closed 0

She wasn't aware FiOS isn't available in Boston? Has she been in a cave for the last 6 years or so? It's quite infamous how Verizon is holding the state over a barrel trying to get out of the franchise system.

up
Voting closed 0

Before people start singing Wu's praises too much, remember that her vote put Linehan over the top and created this situation in the first place. She may be good on the issues and a nice person but she created this monster too.

up
Voting closed 0

Most people have had to take pay cuts and/or have lost their job within the past 10 years... they certainly haven't been getting cost of living raises.

up
Voting closed 0

Look at the many ways that Councilors haven't done the job!... Many Councilors' prideful boasting around the social media haven't addressed the important issues that affect, concern the people living, shopping, doing business, studying, visiting the City. In the future, more up to date City Councilors will interact more to gain greater insight from the people, not just boasting, but asking for ideas, comment, suggestions, questions, feedback more frequently.

up
Voting closed 0

People need to realise that when they stop being OK with this, the behavior will stop - the politicians are only doing this because we're completely aware of this happening and we aren't doing anything about it!

up
Voting closed 0

Then do what the rest of the world does - cut the number of heads. We don't need 13 city councilors. Maybe 2 at large and 5 district. That way they earn their $97k keep and the city saves a few hundred k. Win, win all around.

up
Voting closed 0

ballot? I'd vote in favor of both reducing the amount of councillors and creating term limits.

up
Voting closed 0

I think it requires city charter reform which the mayor and the council would have to do. Not likely the council would take on firing themselves.

up
Voting closed 0

Any of them complaining about having been city councilors for so long that they haven't seen a raise should be reminded that nobody forced them to stay. If they don't like that the position hasn't come up in pay, then they should find a job that has more regular raises.

Maybe keeping the pay lower will be an incentive for them to move on to other bigger/better things and free up the council chairs for new blood and new people interested in doing civic duties.

up
Voting closed 0

Spot on.
"Councilor Charles Yancey (Dorchester) said there are currently some 3,800 city employees with higher base salaries than city councilors."
Who has been there since they create a district for him in 1984.

up
Voting closed 0

Im sure Linehan will come up with a new alcohol tax to pay for his pay raise.

Along with the detox centers, sunscreen dispensers, condom dispensers or whatever else we are asked to fund next.

up
Voting closed 0

Free condoms are more expensive to taxpayers than those who cant afford them to reproduce?

up
Voting closed 0

But at some point people have to take responsibility for their own lives. People like Linehan can't keep expecting some people to pay for everyone else. Maybe he should go get a real job like the rest of us.

up
Voting closed 0

Address what i actually said please?

up
Voting closed 0

Would you like a diagram?

up
Voting closed 0

This bootstrapping bullshit doesn't apply to segments of our population that are routinely denied access to a good education, living wage, etc.

You're just another clueless goon who refuses to acknowledge the myriad ways you have a leg up on the people you insist need to take "responsibility for themselves."

You're a perfect example of
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

up
Voting closed 0

Nothing you do is your fault.

Here. Have some more of my money to ease your pain.

up
Voting closed 0

The sunscreen dispensers are not funded by city money, but paid for by the Melanoma Foundation. Regardless, not a bad deal

up
Voting closed 0

Guess he's not the only one whose salary is a "subscription to poverty."

up
Voting closed 0

Although presumably he'll be there when the council takes up Linehan's proposal.

up
Voting closed 0

$97,000 a year for about 3 hours of "work" per day...........seems fair.

up
Voting closed 0

I'm not in favor of the larger raise, but don't think that councilors work only 3 hours a day. Matt O'Malley is my district councilor and I have seen him in Roche Bros. talking to constituent after constituent while he's just trying to pick up a few groceries. He's at almost every event in the district. I see him everywhere.

Add to that community meetings, district office hours etc. (in JP and WR, that's a lot) and these guys are on duty, if they care, almost 24 hours a day.

Those that are devoted, pay attention to their community members, and take calls from them all the time. They work more hours than most people I know.

If you think elected officials are on easy street, and think you can do better, run for office.

up
Voting closed 0

That is called politicking.

up
Voting closed 0

It's not a coincidence that the councilors who last time voted against the pay raise - Pressley, O'Malley, Zakim, Wu - are pretty much the most active and hardest working of them all.

up
Voting closed 0

"Linehan said. "I can't for the life of me figure out how you got to $97,000."

Neither can we, given how little you do of any value.

up
Voting closed 0

At a minimum, councilors are entitled to at least a raise equal to the cost of living increase over the past eight years.

Boy, wouldn't it be nice if everyone in Boston was entitled to at least a cost of living raise? I should have brought that up with my former employer's HR when I found myself effectively making less and less every year, whittling away at the starting salary which was much much lower than a city councilor's.

I hope their children aren't starving.

If any of the councilors want to stomp out in a huff and quit, I'll be happy to take their place.

Joe Blow for City Council! Blow At Large 2015! The city will GLOW if you vote BLOW!

up
Voting closed 0

Link the wage of the city councilors to be double* the per capita income of a Boston resident. Wikipedia says that is $33,964 for Boston so the councilors should feel particularly happy with a $68k salary.

Want more money? Raise the income of those in the city.

up
Voting closed 0

thats not the result of working long hours in the office.

up
Voting closed 0

City council pay should be capped at the median income of the residents they claim to represent.

up
Voting closed 0

Would it be better for Boston City Councilors to serve a limited number of terms and go back to other things? There would be turnover that could bring in fresh ideas and greater openness at Boston City Council.

up
Voting closed 0

Good enough (or better than enough) for their constituents....

up
Voting closed 0

As the inimitable, late Mayor Menino often said, "thank Wu."

up
Voting closed 0

Report. Boston City Councilors. Compensation Advisory Board.
Scroll to PDF pages 37-164 or so for the City of Boston Compensation Advisory Board Report at
http://meetingrecords.cityofboston.gov/sirepub/view.aspx?cabinet=Publish...

or
Scroll to PDF pages 37-164 or so for the City of Boston Compensation Advisory Board Report
after clicking on... Packet
for Regular City Council Meeting 8/12/2015
at
http://www.cityofboston.gov/cityclerk/citycouncil/meetings.asp

up
Voting closed 0

The $97k has to be viewed as part of total compensation. Councillors get great healthcare with low deductibles/copays, as much time off as they want, parking, a fat pension, and host of other perks.

If they really want to be transparent, they ought to set their pay at $125k as 1099 income, with no benefits.

up
Voting closed 0

I mean, do you want people like Trump in there who just see politics as some sort of hobby or means to their own personal financial ends? You want people in there who want to work for the city and the people who live there.

I think the raise is fine, as long as they have someone watching them to make sure they do their job. They need to work 40 hours a week and be available to anyone who wants to talk to them including the press.

Maybe they should be required to have some sort of public diary/itinerary which shows what they do all day.

up
Voting closed 0

The someone watching them to do their job is YOU - THE VOTERS!

up
Voting closed 0

I have no idea if Ayanna Pressley sleeps till 1pm and then gets up and posts about all the work she did that day.

There should be a non political position who watches these councilors and their work activities.

up
Voting closed 0

Well, Adam, anyways.

up
Voting closed 0

He's having a real hard time. Tan, nice suit, goofy looking/expensive haircut. I truly feel for the guy, but, you know, if he wants to make more money, he should find another job. For the record, I'm not one of those anti-government types, I think public work is important, but he's not doing any heavy lifting, and I'm sure the pay/benefits are far better than what the average working person makes, so, unless he's arguing that the guys at the DPW need a raise, I think he should just go talk to his hair stylist or tailor, and cry them a river.

up
Voting closed 0

Annissa Essaibi-George, running for one of the four at-large seats in November's election (the only non-incumbent in the race) issued a statement:

The City Council needs to do what is right by Boston’s taxpayers. Any pay raise that brings salaries into the six-figure range is fiscally irresponsible and unacceptable.

It is deeply concerning that the Council has held as many hearings on their pay raise this summer as they have on Public Safety and Education combined. Let’s get back to the issues that we should be working on in municipal government – improving our schools, making our streets safer, and creating economic opportunity in all of our neighborhoods

up
Voting closed 0

It is deeply concerning that the Council has held as many hearings on their pay raise this summer as they have on Public Safety and Education combined. Let’s get back to the issues that we should be working on in municipal government

IMAGE(<a href="http://i.imgur.com/FKu6cO9.jpg)">http://i.imgur.com/FKu6cO9.jpg[/img]

up
Voting closed 0

District 7 Sample Specimen Ballot. Boston City Council Election Tues Sep 8 2015
Dorchester, Dorchester/St. Mark’s , Roslindale, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Hyde Park
http://bostondocuments.blogspot.com/2015/08/district-7-sample-specimen-b...

District 7 map
http://www.bostonredevelopmentauthority.org/getattachment/0897c2ea-4394-...

District 4 Sample Specimen Ballot. Boston City Council Election Tues Sep 8 2015
Roxbury, South End, Fenway, Dorchester
http://bostondocuments.blogspot.com/2015/08/sample-specimen-ballot-distr...

District 4 map
http://www.bostonredevelopmentauthority.org/getattachment/2f42efe6-2a53-...

How do you post an image?...
[img] didn't work !

up
Voting closed 0

Don, frankly I am disappointed with you. Everyone knows that District 4 is Mattapan and District 7 is Roxbury.

up
Voting closed 0