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Linehan proposes 29% raise for City Council

“It’s long overdue in my opinion,” City Council President Bill Linehan said.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff/File

City Council President Bill Linehan filed an order Monday that would give him and his colleagues a $25,000 raise, a proposal that appears to have support on the City Council.

The raise would increase councilors’ annual salaries to $112,500, a boost of nearly 29 percent from their current pay of $87,500. The raise would take effect immediately if passed by a simple majority of the 13-member council and signed by the mayor.

“I’ve going to vote for it,” said Councilor Frank Baker of Dorchester. “It’s difficult to live in Boston. I know $87,500 seems like a lot, but for a family of four and for the amount of work that we do? I’m out every night of the week. I start early and end late. We put in a lot of hours.”


Councilor Mark Ciommo of Brighton said he was leaning toward yes but had not made a final decision on how he would vote because he wanted to gauge the fiscal impact on the city.

“I am in favor of a raise,” Ciommo said. “I would like to follow the pattern that most city employees have gotten over the last 10 to 12 years, which is probably how long this is going to last.”

Eight councilors, including Linehan, could not be reached Monday for comment. Last week, Linehan told the Globe that he was going to push for a raise because councilors had not received one in eight years. The council president said he proposed a “moderate increase” that was “the same or less than what other city employees have received.”

“It’s long overdue, in my opinion,” Linehan said. “The sentiment is that it’s been a long time and that we need to address it. There are many people on the body who feel this is long overdue.”

The measure will be formally introduced at Wednesday’s council meeting.


Linehan said in Friday’s story that the council would have a hearing to publicly air the proposal before holding a vote. The matter will be formally introduced at Wednesday’s council meeting.

The raise would give councilors a higher annual salary than 74 percent of city workers. The average pay for municipal employees is $64,733 a year, not including overtime.

With a salary of $112,500, councilors would be on par with elementary school principals, police and fire captains, and the chief engineer for the Public Works Department. The median household income in Boston is $53,136, according to the US Census.

Boston has more than 40 municipal unions representing roughly 91 percent of a workforce of more than 17,000. One union — Salaried Employees of North America. or SENA — represents middle managers and workers at Boston Centers for Youth and Families. The union has a collective bargaining agreement that runs until 2016. Employees will receive annual raises totaling 20.5 percent from July 2007 through the end of the contract.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh will wait until the City Council votes before deciding whether he will approve a raise, said press secretary Kate Norton.

Councilor at Large Stephen J. Murphy said he did not know whether he would vote in favor of the raise. “I’m going to go to the hearing whenever that is and let the legislative process take its course and figure it out,” Murphy said.

Councilor Tito Jackson said he had not had an opportunity to study the proposal.


“Once I see what we’re voting on, I’ll be able to make a decision,” Jackson said, adding that the high cost of living in Boston should be taken into consideration.

“I think the work that we do is valuable.” Jackson said.

Councilor at Large Ayanna Pressley did not say whether she supported the raise but noted that there would be a hearing.

“I’ve a lot of questions,” Pressley said.

The remaining seven councilors who could not be reached for comment were Charles C. Yancey of Dorchester; Josh Zakim of Back Bay; Michelle Wu of the South End; Michael F. Flaherty Jr. of South Boston, who is councilor at large; Salvatore LaMattina of East Boston; Timothy McCarthy of Hyde Park; and Matt O’Malley of Jamaica Plain.

Andrew Ryan can be reached at
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