There is a frightening alternative to “Pay raise for pols” (Dick Brennan, August 2).
The base yearly salary of $79,500 for members of the state assembly and senate also comes with lulus for chairing committees (up to $41,500 more), resulting in an average salary of $90,000 to $100,000 per year. This is supplemented by day-to-day meal expense accounts and reimbursement for travel to and from Albany. The state Legislature averages only 66 days in session, leaving many members time to hold down second outside jobs.
City Councilmembers have a yearly base of $112,500 plus lulus ranging from $4,000 to $28,000 to chair committees for a part-time job. Many also have time to hold down another outside job.
If taxpayers don’t offer members of the state Legislature the comparable salary, bonuses and perks their little brothers and sisters in the city council have, they may change jobs just like former Assemblymember Mark Weprin.
After older brother David came in dead last in a four way Democratic primary for city comptroller in 2009, his seat became vacant. Brother Mark swapped his assembly for David’s council seat. Brother David inherited Mark’s assembly seat. Mark, being the smarter brother, picked up a $33,000 salary increase. He cut his commute from three hours to Albany to an easy drive to City Hall. Poor David took a $51,000 salary cut (base salary plus lulu) and added three hours each way for his new commute to Albany versus City Hall.
Imagine the chaos of 61 assembly and 24 senators deciding to switch offices and run for one of the 51 council seats in 2013! Losing councilmembers would follow David to Albany for less money and more travel time!