Friday, August 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Council -- Mostly -- Passes on COLA

With just one exception, every City Council member will pass on some or all of a cost of living raise they were awarded July 1, according to a memo Council President Verna sent to City Finance Director Rob Dubow earlier this week.

Council -- Mostly -- Passes on COLA

With just one exception, every City Council member will pass on some or all of a cost of living raise they were awarded July 1, according to a memo Council President Verna sent to City Finance Director Rob Dubow earlier this week.

All Council members were mandated to take 5.13 percent raise as of July 1. Twelve members received a $5,758 raise on their annual $112,223 salaries. Council's five leadership posts pay more, so their raises were slightly higher. Given the city's dire financial problems, most members felt this was a tough time to take a raise.

The exact amount returned – and where it will go – varies depending on the member.

Seven members are giving up their entire raise – Frank DiCicco, Anna Verna, Curtis Jones Jr., Darrell Clarke, Maria Quiñones-Sánchez, Jim Kenney and Bill Green. Nine are giving up a smaller portion of the raise, based on the taxes they expect to pay on the money.

Most members are returning the money to the city’s general fund. But three have designated the funds to go elsewhere. Quiñones-Sánchez wants her raise to go to the 7th Councilmanic District. Councilwoman Marion Tasco will donate $3,593 to the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition. And Green is donating his raise to the Friends of the Free Library.

Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr. is not returning his raise to the city general fund or another cause. He said that he plans to make several early property tax payments during the current fiscal year, to provide the city and school district with additional funds.

 "I am going to pre-pay and overpay my real estate taxes. I have already put in process a payment for my 2010 property taxes," Goode said. "I am giving money back to the city directly."

Goode didn't answer questions about exactly how much he plans to pay in additional real estate taxes.

Clarke, who stipulated that his raise be returned until the end of the year when he will revisit the issue, said it was important to make a symbolic sacrifice during the city’s financial crisis.

“I just don’t feel it’s appropriate for me to accept a raise, given the municipal workers’ situation,” Clarke said.

Council is guaranteed the cost of living allowance (COLA) based on legislation approved in 2003.

For the full list of who's giving what where, click here.
 

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
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Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
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Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
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