City Council Gives Staff Raises

By Hasani Gittens
|  Friday, Aug 7, 2009  |  Updated 8:31 AM EDT
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City Council Gives Staff Raises

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City Council Speaker Christine Quinn speaks at a City Hall hearing.

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New Yorkers, if you've just lost your job, haven't been able to find a job, or are in the midst of a raise freeze at work, you may not want to read this without a wall to punch nearby, but the City Council has decided to give its staff a bump in salary -- in the middle of one of the biggest recessions the city has ever faced.

The raises don't affect actual council members and didn't have to be voted on, but 550 council aides and other staffers will see a 4 percent boost in salary retroactive to last March, the New York Times reported.

The raises will cost the city about $3.9 million this year, according to the Times. Last month the mayor's office approved similar raises for its staffers, which will cost a whopping $45 million this year.

“We have taken every step towards achieving a responsible budget at the Council, and have in fact lowered our spending by more than $4 million over the past two fiscal years,” said Maria Alvarado, a spokeswoman for the Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn. “We made a decision to provide the cost of living increases after they were enacted by mayoral personnel orders in July.”

The City Council's highest-paid employee, chief of staff Charles Meara will see a boost of $15,841, going from $194,143 to $209,973, according to the Times.

Officials said the raises are based on salary negotiations with municipal union DC-37 last year.

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