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City Council votes pay raises for members who win re-election next year; calls for raises all around for city workers

The City Council today unanimously approved pay raises for themselves - to go into effect after the next election, the mayor and other top appointed officials and said all hard-working city employees should get raises, even if the council can't give them any increases, because that's subject to bargaining between the mayor's office and municipal unions.

Starting after the 2021 council election, councilors will make $125,000, up from the current $103,500, while Mayor Wu will get a bump up to $250,000 from her current $207,000 - if she wins re-election in 2025. Councilors also approved increases for the police and fire commissioners and other top appointed officials, with those raises going into effect immediately.

Councilors said they were only doing what they must to ensure Boston stays inline with its "peer cities," such as Washington DC., Seattle and Minneapolis. Currently, Washington and Seattle councilors make more than Boston ones. Minneapolis council members make the same as Boston councilors, but Councilor Ruthzee Louijeune (at large) said housing is so much cheaper there than here.

Council President Ed Flynn acknowledged that rank-and-file city employees mostly make less than councilors, but added, "they, too, deserve a pay raise."

"We work best when we work together," he said.

Among those supporting the raises at a hearing on Monday: Former Councilor Tito Jackson, who, in an earlier debate about council wages, said he almost lost his house to foreclosure when he ran for seat the first time.

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Comments

The globe is reporting that Wu’s salary will go from $207k to $250k, not $230k as you’ve reported above. Who’s right? I hope it’s you because a 21% salary increase is completely ridiculous.

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Voting closed 25

I once got something like a 20% pay raise but it's because I was woefully underpaid relative to market beforehand. I certainly wouldn't expect that every year.

When was the mayor's salary last adjusted to "market" and cost of living?

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Voting closed 19

From wikipedia - Every four years, the Boston City Council votes on whether or not to raise the mayor's salary, thereby also raising its own salaries or not.

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Voting closed 16

Councillor's salary X 2 = Mayor's salary

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Voting closed 6

City Managers of much smaller cities and towns make 200k a year. The Cambridge City Manager makes in the 300ks. Don't get me wrong, 250k is a good payday but let's not act like the job isn't worth more than what it's currently pegged at.

I'd be curious about the pay history of the position and how often it increases. When I was in council in Chelsea we would only bump out pay up once a decade or longer so they always seemed to be big jumps. I attempted to create a schedule that increased pay on a regular basis in smaller chunks but there was zero interest in that. Due to how people react to political pay raises politicians are only willing to make these jumps every so many years and when they do they tend to max it out all day once because they are going to take a hot no matter what.

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Voting closed 20

Thank you. I'd have to wait to find out which numbers being bantered about for 2022 are correct but looking at the past mayor increases it looks like an increase of about 131 percent since 1987. According to inflation calculators in that same time period, not taking into account the increased cost of living specifically to places like Boston, nationally we saw inflation of about 128 percent.

As I mentioned this doesn't take into account the increased cost of living in Boston itself nor does it take into account the modern challenges of running a city like Boston versus the way things used to be. The 2020 increase only put the pay above national inflation by a smidge. Since 2020 there has been massive inflation and running a city is becoming more complex with public health and other challenges.

IMO even if the pay is a twenty percent jump, still waiting to see if that number does in fact play out, it would be taking into account the added challenges and increased inflation since 2020.

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Voting closed 14

a 21% salary increase is completely ridiculous.

It makes no sense to look at the size of the increase. Look at the actual resulting salary. Is $250K a reasonable salary for a big city mayor? That's the relevant question, not how big or small a bump it was from the prior number.

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Voting closed 9

How wonderful to see politicians of all different stripes overcome their differences, join hands, and speak with one voice to give themselves more money.

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Voting closed 59

After the next election in 2024 it will be $125K, which my admittedly poor math skills equates to a 43% increase.

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Voting closed 19

Given the increase in the cost of living etc, that doesn't seem that unreasonable. Especially when you consider that it's not retroactive.

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Voting closed 15

Public or private sector

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Voting closed 31

I’d like to see Boston eliminate the poverty wages suffered by some full-time city workers that force them onto government assistance programs like SNAP. Those same workers struggling just to get by are also forced to maintain residency in Boston to keep their jobs. It’s a double-whammy and has lead to staffing shortages across dozens of departments.

These workers have been also been failed by unions such as AFSCME whose overgrowth into representing high-paying white collar jobs have left blue collar workers behind for decades now.

It’s inexcusable especially in a state where taxpayers are being refunded for unspent money. The money is there it’s just not being distributed equitably. I’m a Wu supporter, but I’m stunned she has not addressed this issue in her own house while justifiably calling out the private sector for its exploitation of workers.

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Voting closed 22

Holy cow talk about wealthly elite. These wealthy politicians really understand the poor communities I’m totally sure. They must really be able to relate. Time to invest in some rental properties!

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Voting closed 20

For reference, that's roughly 98-99%th percentile for the entire US (would be lower for Boston area, or higher for a rural area). Very comfortable, but "wealthy" goes a looong way up, and "the 1%" is really a shorthand for something more like "the 0.01%" (that would be $3.5M/year), or the real filthy-rich bastards like Bezos who have a net worth measured not just in billions but in hundreds of billions.

So, wealthy, but not what I'd call the elite.

(Really, where I draw the line is this: That you have so much *accumulated* money that you can live entirely off the interest/investments. And the mayor of Boston is not there.)

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Voting closed 9

Of 28% voter turnout.

Same (expletive) that keeps Ted Cruz in power.

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Voting closed 15

For context, I haven't looked and filtered the city's payroll database in a while but from what I remember, $125k is poverty wage for full time employees at BPD-BFD. BPD is somewhere around $180k on average with dozens of officers earning over $250k.

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Voting closed 16

We have a world class mayor salary, if nothing else.

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