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Boston City Council to debate pay hikes

Mayor Michelle Wu at an event in November 2021 about the fare-free bus program. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Mayor Michelle Wu at an event in November 2021 about the fare-free bus program. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Boston city councilors plan to discuss a proposal Wednesday to boost their pay by 11%, as well as hike the salaries for other top city officials, including the mayor, police and fire commissioners.

The proposal, filed by Mayor Michelle Wu this week, would increase the maximum pay for councilors to $115,000 and the mayor to $230,000.

Wu told reporters Tuesday the pay hike was overdue. She said the city is supposed to review certain non-union salaries every two years, but the last report was delayed by the pandemic.

"It's been a little while since any of those salaries were adjusted," she said. "So we have proposed an adjustment based on that research comparing to what other cities provide."

For comparison, the mayors of San Francisco and San Diego make $353,802 and $218,678, respectively. The mayor of Nashville, which is the same size as Boston in population, earns $180,000.

Mike Widmer, a public finance expert and former Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation president, said it's important cities offer competitive pay to attract top talent.

"This is just a fraction of a private sector salary that would have the same order of magnitude of challenges," he said.

The new pay scales would not kick in until after the next election. For non-elected officials like the fire commissioner and chief information officer, the new salary maximums would be retroactive to Aug. 1.

Related:

Walter Wuthmann Twitter General Assignment Reporter
Walter Wuthmann is a general assignment reporter for WBUR.

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