The aldermen earlier this week voted 5-2 to increase the mayor’s salary to $105,000 a year, effective Jan. 1, 2014, when the mayoral term is extended from two to four years by virtue of the new city charter.
The pay raise proposal – which still needs to be approved by the common council in order become effective – represents a $20,000 hike.
Currently, the mayor receives $85,000 a year.
In addition, the measure – which was jointly filed by Ald. Sal Sachetta and Councillor Rosa DiFlorio – includes a provision that would automatically “adjust” the mayor’s salary each January 1 in line with the “consumer price index” (CPI).
On Tuesday night’s roll-call tally, Chuck DiPerri, Michael Mangan, Michael Marchese and Robert Van Campen voted along with Sachetta in favor of the pay increase plan.
Opposed were Joseph McGonagle and Millie Cardello.
Ald. Sachetta said the position of mayor is presently underpaid, considering that the superintendent of schools, local principals, the police and fire chiefs, and several of the officers in their ranks, all make more than the mayor.
Ald. Cardello, who is said to be mulling a run for mayor next year, said she couldn’t vote for the proposal for a few reasons.
She cited the poor economy and a city budget that is facing financial difficulties.
In addition, the Ward One alderwoman asserted that she just couldn’t vote for a mayoral pay increase “when some city union employees are working without a contract”.
As part of the discussion on the issue, Ald. Marchese asked the city solicitor to do some legal research in order to determine if the mayor, as an elected official, is eligible for longevity pay.
The action taken by the aldermen this week comes after their rejection in September of an attempt to hike the mayor’s pay by $30,000, a pay increase that had received the approval of the common council.
The aldermen’s September vote – at the finalizing ordainment stage of the legislative process – was 4-3 in opposition to the bid to elevate the mayor’s salary to $115,000 a year.
Two weeks prior, the proposed salary increase had been favored by the aldermen, 4-2, but because Ald. Cardello had left that meeting early, the motion to approve the new pay failed since all salary issues under the new city charter require a two-thirds vote of approval, meaning five affirmative votes are needed.
A successful reconsideration motion kept the issue alive and at the next aldermanic session – with Ald. Cardello in attendance – the board not only didn’t come up with the fifth vote needed, one of the initial pay hike supporters jumped ship.
Without explanation, Ald. Marchese switched his position and voted against the proposed $115,000 salary.
That fate-determining action by the board two months ago saw Marchese and Cardello, along with colleagues Chuck DiPerri and Joseph McGonagle, vote against the $30,000 mayoral salary hike, thus causing its legislative death.
Supporting that proposed increase in vain were Mangan, Sachetta and Van Campen.