D.C. Council Eyes 24 Percent Pay Raise; Would Outearn N.Y., Boston

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), November 29, 2006 | Go to article overview

D.C. Council Eyes 24 Percent Pay Raise; Would Outearn N.Y., Boston


Byline: Gary Emerling and Jim McElhatton, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

D.C. Council members are considering giving themselves a pay raise that would allow them to earn more money than their counterparts in New York City, Chicago, Boston or Philadelphia.

One bill under consideration would lift their annual salaries from $92,530 to $115,000 - a 24 percent increase. Another bill would raise their pay to $122,530 - a 32 percent increase.

Yesterday, the lawmakers said they deserve a pay raise because they haven't had one in years and their current pay is not adequate for the long hours they work.

"It tires me to hear any reference to this being a part-time job," council member Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat, said during a council meeting. "This has been more than a full-time engagement. This has been my life for eight years."

"At the very minimum, council members should receive a cost-of-living increase," said outgoing council member Vincent B. Orange Sr., Ward 5 Democrat.

The council's last pay raise occurred in 1999, when members' salaries were frozen at their current level.

Lawmakers in cities with larger populations than the District's next year will earn less than what D.C. legislators are considering for their salary. For example, Boston lawmakers will earn $87,500, while those in New York City will take home $112,500.

The median household income for the District last year was $47,221, according to the U.S. Census.

Outside City Hall, the council's pay raise plans were met with mixed reactions.

"I don't think they should get one now," said John Griffin, 42, a sales representative assistant who lives in Northwest. "I would like to see if any progress is going to be made before they get a raise. …

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