Despite pointed opposition from a small number of residents at the September 12, 2016 Public Hearing, New Rochelle City Council members voted 4-3 in favor of a raise at their September 20th Regular Legislative Meeting.
The adopted proposal was amended to make this a one-time raise, pegged to the CPI change relative to the Council’s last raise, 8 years ago. The suggestion to make the raise automatic going forward, pegged to future cost of living increases, was discarded from the final amendment.
According to City of New Rochelle Communications Director, Kathy Gilwit, based upon the legislation, the estimated the pay rate will go up to $38,941 for City Council Members and $100,818 for the Mayor.
“Elected officials are eligible for health benefits,” wrote Gilwit in response to an email inquiry. “Individual and family plans are available. The City contributes 82% of the health insurance premium for employees joining the City after 1998. Benefits are only while in office. However, they can continue upon retirement into the NYS system (eligibility subject to age, employment tier and vesting status).”
Councilmen Trangucci, Tarentino and Hyden opposed the pay raise. Though Tarentino agreed that the amended proposal was an improvement, he could not support it. Councilman Harden reiterated his belief that he preferred to wait “until the Council has delivered on development promises and revenue is coming into the city.”
Councilmen Fertel and Rice voted for the raise, along with Councilwoman Freed and Mayor Bramson. Rice stated that he is very proud of his record of service to his district and the City. He noted that beyond attending 2 Council Meetings a month, Council Members also attend sub-committee meetings, take time to provide constituent services on a daily basis and attend public events on evenings and weekends. He added that he is “very proud of his service.” Fertel pointed to the healthy fund balance and time spent on City objectives to justify the raise and said it was a modest adjustment, echoing Rice’s comments regarding the work and the effort.