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Boston City Council voting on its own $25,000 pay raise illegal: lawyer

Boston City Council members delayed a vote on whether to raise their own salaries by nearly 29 percent after a staff attorney said doing so would violate state law, The Associated Press reported Monday afternoon.

boston city hall plaza pride flag gay marriage same-sex marriage Boston City Hall. Credit: Michael Naughton/METRO

ABoston City Council committee on Monday delayed action on a proposed ordinance that would give councilors a 29 percent raise because, according to a city attorney, doing so would be illegal.

City Council President Bill Linehan has proposed boosting council pay by $25,000, from $87,500 to $112,500.

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State ethics law prohibits government officials from voting on matters in which they or their families have a financial interest, the city's assistant corporation counsel Henry Luthin said at a public hearing where the council's Government Operations Committee was poised to discuss the issue.

The law states, "Participating as a municipal employee in a matter in which you, your immediate family, your business organization, or your future employer has a financial interest is prohibited."

However, Staff Counsel Christine O’Donnell said the Mayor of Boston and the council have the authority to make salary recommendations by ordinance, and have amended the ordinance that determines councilor salary "from time to time."

The 13-member panel last received a raise in 2006.

The Associated Press cited a 2013 city survey that found Boston's councilor pay was higher than the pay in most Massachusetts cities.

Linehan's proposed pay raise would bump up Boston councilor salaries closer to major metropolises like Washington, D.C., which pays $125,583, Chicago, which pays $116,674 and New York, which pays $112,500.

A request to Linehan's office for explanation as to why he felt the council deserved the boost was not returned as of deadline.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS

 
 
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