Mayor and City Council Set to Award Themselves Huge Pay Raises for Next Term

Two items on the Yonkers City Council meeting agenda for Dec. 12 raise the annual salaries for the Mayor and Council Members.

The charter for the City of Yonkers defines the terms for compensation of officers like the Mayor and City Council President. By law, changes to these terms must be affirmatively voted upon by the Council and signed by the Mayor. This process is the same for any such local law, like extending term limits.

The new salaries

Each City Council member will see a larger paycheck come next term starting on January 1, 2024. Or, retroactively to that date if there are delays in administration filing at the state-level. Oddly, the Mayor’s compensation increase goes even further back an entire year to the start of 2023.

And Mayor Mike Spano sees by far the greatest growth in his compensation. Currently, Mayor Spano receives $156,100/year of tax-payer money to perform his duties. Upon adoption of item #5 on this week’s Council agenda, that number balloons to a whopping $228,500. That’s a 46% increase whereas the Cost-of-Living Adjustment for 2023 was a historic high of 8.7%.

The Council Members, designated as part-time workers, all see raises as well. But, the pay scales vary by title and duties. City Council President Lakisha Collins-Bellamy gets a 19% bump from $74,000 to $88,000 per year. The Majority Leader Tasha Diaz and Minority Leader Mike Breen go from $63,000 to $73,000/year. And the remaining members get a $10k increase, raising their base pay to $58,000 per year. Additionally, serving as a chair of any committee awards that member another $15,000 stipend (up from only five thousand). So, for example, next year Majority Leader Diaz stands to earn $88,000 for that title and chairperson-ship of two committees (Education and Environmental Policy and Protection) under these new salary terms.

For comparison, the larger city of Buffalo, NY had a pay raise approved for next year. In it, Mayor Byron Brown goes up to $178,519 from $158,500, and the Council Members to $84,473 from $75,000. And Mayor Eric Adams of New York City, with almost 40 times the number of citizens of Yonkers, earns $258,750 a year. That’s $0.03 per resident in NYC vs $1.09 per Yonkers resident.

Average Pay in Yonkers

Per ZipRecruiter, the average salary in Yonkers is about $60,000 per year. This is higher than the national average of $58k, and higher still than the New York state average of $51k. But, those working in City of Yonkers government far surpass all of these numbers.

Per the most recently published payroll in 2022, the average salary for a government employee is $131,070.20 annually. This includes Fire Department Captain’s making close to $300,000 as well as clerks and secretaries making around $50,000. But, the deviation is not that great as the median salary is still twice the city-wide average at $127,995.93. So, to put these proposed pay raises in further context, the retroactive check the Mayor will receive for 2023 will be larger than the entire yearly salary of the average worker in the city he governs.

If you are interested in hearing arguments for or against these changes, or would like to speak on them yourself, the City Council meeting to vote on these proposed salary increases will be held at City Hall on Tuesday December 12 at 6:30 P.M.

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