BOSTON — The Boston City Council on Wednesday afternoon unanimously backed a large — and controversial — pay hike for the city’s police patrolmen.
The raise — a 25.4 percent increase in total compensation, costing the city an estimated $87 million over six years — was recommended by an arbitrator after city officials and the patrolmen’s union failed to reach an accord. Its size made the award a contentious issue.
The arbitrator had said the patrolmen’s union deserved the raise, and that it would bring officers’ salaries in line with those of Boston firefighters.
The 13-member council voted 12-0 in favor of the pay hike. Councilor John Connolly was not present and did not vote.
“The base salary of a Boston police officer is simply just less than that of the Fire Department base salary,” Councilor Mike Ross told the WBUR Newsroom Wednesday evening, explaining his vote. “Not only that, it’s less than other police departments across the commonwealth.”
Councilors took turns speaking about the raise before casting their votes.
“For people watching, I know this award seems large,” Councilor Ayanna Pressley said, according to her prepared remarks. But, she added later, “I plan to vote in support of this award. My role was to determine whether the City of Boston should fund this award; to ask can we effectively pay for the balance of the contract handed down in binding arbitration.”