By a 4-3 margin, the board of aldermen Monday night voted to establish a $25,000 annual salary for each of the 11 members of the new, charter-created city council that will take office in January of 2014.
The aldermen also voted 7-0 in favor of hiking the mayor’s pay from $85,000 to $115,000 a year from January when the mayoral term changes from two to four years.
Both salary ordinances also need the approval of the common council, which is expected to take up the pay proposals at their next meeting on Monday, Aug. 20.
Even though there will be far less city legislators in the future – 11 instead of 25 – their payroll will be much higher due to the salary that was given initial approval by the aldermen this week.
Currently, the seven aldermen receive $7,200 a year and the 18 councilors are paid $5,500, resulting in a collective annual cost of $149,400.
A $25,000 salary for the 11 members of the 2014 city council – $10,000 more than what was recommended by the committee on finance – will cost the city $275,000, a hefty increase of $125,600 over the present legislative payroll.
The committee on finance also suggested an extra stipend of $2,500 for the council president.
The first order of business by the aldermen Monday night was to eliminate the proposed presidential stipend. Ald. Sal Sachetta made that motion, which passed on a voice vote.
Ald. Michael K. Marchese then offered a motion to increase the recommended pay for members of the city council starting in 2014 from the finance committee’s endorsed figure of $15,000 to $25,000 a year.
The Ward Three alderman cited the extra work that the members of the new council are going to have to assume since there will only be 11 of them compared to today’s 25 city legislators (seven aldermen and eighteen councilors).
“Fifteen thousand dollars is not enough pay for the increased workload,” claimed Marchese.
On a roll call vote, Marchese’s motion to increase the council pay to $25,000 a year passed by a slim one-vote margin.
Voting in support of the motion along with Marchese were Millie Cardello, Joseph McGonagle and Robert Van Campen.
Opposed were Sal Sachetta, Chuck DiPerri and Michael Mangan.
Interestingly, Ald. Van Campen, as a finance committee member, had made the motion in the committee room for the $15,000 recommendation, but since then apparently had a change of heart and switched Monday night to vote for the larger $25,000 salary.