Melissa Mark-Viverito: 71 Percent Pay Hike for Council Members Is ‘Ridiculous’

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. (Photo: Andrew Burton for Getty Images)

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. (Photo: Andrew Burton for Getty Images) Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

A $192,000 salary for a member of the City Council? The speaker of the body thinks that’s “ridiculous.”

“If anyone is asking whether that amount being portrayed is ridiculous, it definitely is a ridiculous amount,” Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito told reporters at City Hall today.

Ms. Mark-Viverito was reacting to a front page report in the Daily News, which said some members of the Council were seeking a 71 percent raise from their current base salary of $112,500.  In return for the enormous pay hike, the council members are reportedly seeking to make the position full-time and enact other ethics reforms, including the end of stipends for chairing committees.

The raises would make the 51 members of the body the most well-compensated local legislators in America and increase the gap between the pay of city and state lawmakers, who earn $79,500 and have wanted raises for over a decade. By charter mandate, a quadrennial commission is reviewing the pay of all city elected officials and will weigh in at the end of the year.

While Ms. Mark-Viverito shot down the idea of raising her colleagues’ pay that high, she implied she was open to a boost in compensation of some kind, especially since it’s been nine years since council members saw their income climb into the six-figure range. (Ms. Mark-Viverito earns an extra $25,000 for leading the Council.)

“I’m not going to have a specific amount. Again, I want to hear what the commission has to say,” she said. “The council members did legitmately want this conversation.”