Detroit residents sound off to commission on city council raise

Some residents had their say about proposed raises for council members at a meeting Monday night.
Detroit is just a few months removed from bankruptcy. Is this a bad time for city leaders to ask for a pay raise? 

Some residents got a chance to sound off Monday night. 

The question of what council members have done to earn a raise, was echoed time and time again as more than 70 people took it upon themselves to be the city's voice when it comes to them getting a raise.

Many who spoke Monday said that the timing has to be right when asking for a raise.

"You need to give this city time to get the books balanced," said Janice Pickett, a retired city worker. "And to really situate where this money is going and what departments need it most before you want to pad your pockets."

And many other Detroit retirees questioned the timing of this request at Monday's Detroit City Council Compensation Commission meeting.

"Now the city council wants a pay raise," said one resident. "Where is our pay raise?"

"In my household if we have a decrease in income, we have to make choices," another resident said. "Priorities as to how we are going to spend our money."

The comments were directed at a committee that will give a recommendation to the Detroit City Council on whether or not a raise is appropriate right now.

"They knew the pay when they accepted the job," Pickett said. "So work and do that job. So work the job before you come down on the city of Detroit and those who reside their - on their backs, and ask for a pay increase."

One retired city employee broke the trend of opinions, saying those in charge of the city need to get paid accordingly.

"In order to strengthen the pool of people who will potentially fill the future positions in this city, that there is a reasonable amount of compensation," he said.

In 2010, when this same commission met, they cut the salaries of city council members by 10 percent.

Monday was the first time Paul Novak has sat on the committee. He said the public's opinion does factor into his decision.

"For me personally, I think one of the important considerations will be the rate of increase or lack of increase in salaries when compared to other city employee salaries," he said.

Another factor that might not be considered by this committee, but could come into play: The fragile economic state of the city.

FOX 2: "You heard people complain about the city coming out of bankruptcy does that factor in at all?"

"I think it would as to weather the city ultimately accepts or rejects a recommendation," Novak said. "But that is a determination that council will make."

The committee is only making a recommendation whether the council will decide if they deserve a raise. The ultimate decision whether or not they will get a raise will be made by the city council itself.

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