Two key councilors in the struggle for higher council pay say they have come to terms with the mayor's proposal to increase their salaries 13.7%, to $99,500, come January.
"I support the mayoral compromise," at-large Councilor Michael Flaherty, who chairs the council's committee on government operations, said at a forum for at-large council candidates in Roslindale last night. This means the raise will automatically go into effect because the council cannot act to change Mayor Walsh's proposal without a report from his committee, which Flaherty's statement put the kibosh on.
Councilor Steve Murphy, who had been among the most vocal supporters of higher wages for city councilors also said he now supports the mayor's proposal. "The mayor's number is fair," he said.
Still, Murphy told people at the Progressive West Roxbury/Roslindale forum, he thinks councilors really are due at least as much of a raise since 2006 - the last time they got one - as other city workers, who have seen cumulative raises of some 28% since then. "In the interests of fairness, I wanted to be fair to myself, as well," he said.
Councilor Michelle Wu voted against council President Bill Linehan's initial proposal for a six-figure salary, saying the council needs an independent board to set its salaries. But she said last night she's sick of "how much attention this has gotten in the media," when the council has been tackling far more important issues, from paid parental leave for city workers to reductions in diesel emissions for trucks that operate in Boston.
Councilor Ayanna Pressley, who also voted against the initial proposal, agreed the council needs a formal mechanism for determining its salary. She said salaries should be pegged to Boston salaries in general, so that in good times, councilors can share in the prosperity, and that in bad times, they can share in the pain of their constituents.
Annissa Essaibi-George, the only challenger for one of the four at-large seats next month, countered Murphy's assertion by saying it's not voters' fault councilors have not gotten a raise since 2006. She said she would support cost-of-living increases, but said raises should be determined in a public manner.