In today’s column, we took the Mount Vernon City Council to task for attempting to slip itself a 15 percent raise, an outrageous move.
Just a couple of hours ago, the council backed off, saying raises at this point would be “unconscionable.” No kidding.
Here’s the full statement from Council President Karen Watts.
COUNCIL PRESIDENT PRESS RELEASE
Proposal for Raise for City Council Rescinded
In recent days there has been a great deal of interest in the Mount Vernon 2012 budget.
Every year, each department in city government is requested to submit to the Office of the Mayor, a financial proposal for the upcoming year. These submissions are done independently and usually without information from other departments or agencies. The Mayor and his staff, with the support of financial documents from the Office of the Comptroller, work diligently to build a working budget.
This budget is then presented to the Board of Estimate and Contract which is supposed to review the document and determine a date for its public hearing. This year, same as last year, the budget was delayed. As a result, there was not enough time to review and adjust the document before setting the date for the public hearing.
In the budget proposal that addresses the expenses of the City Council, money was moved from professional services and placed into the salary line. This adjustment created no changes in the bottom line of the budget we had in 2011. In retrospect, this was a bad idea.
The Mount Vernon City Council has always prided itself with being the voice and conscience of the people. We, as are so many of the employees of the city, deserving of appropriate financial compensation. We work hard and care deeply about the people and their neighborhoods. Though the position we hold can present with tremendous difficulties, we respect and highly regard the opportunity we have been given by the voters, to serve.
This being said, we are in agreement with the people we serve. It would be unconscionable of us to petition for raise at this time.
I, on behalf of the City Council, encourage our residents to carefully review the proposed budget. I urge you to come out on December 9th at 7pm to voice your concerns. We look forward to seeing you.
Karen Watts, City Council President