Detroiters rally against city council pay raises

Members of the Detroit City Council haven't received a pay raise in 15 years. But is now the time? The Motor City is just three months out of bankruptcy and critics say council members are putting themselves ahead of city services.

Pastors and concerned citizens with the Change Agent Consortium (CAC) spent Wednesday arguing against a proposed 2 1/2% pay increase.

Rev. David Bullock, change agent consortium said now is not the right time. But when is the right time? Gabe Leland is on the city council. His answer?

"There's ever really a good time as an elected official to take a pay raise," Leland told FOX 2's Charlie Langton.

The pay increase was recommended by the compensation commission. Rev. Bullock said it's all about priorities.

"It's not a question of when should they get a raise," Rev. Bullock said. "It's a question of what should the priorities be for dollars that are spent in the city of Detroit. Let's prioritize things that citizens need first."

Those priorities include police and fire. 

Currently, council members make about $76,000 a year and the president makes about $80,000. Raises for city council members are automatic unless the council votes by 2/3 not to give themselves one. If the council does nothing and not vote at all, they get the raises. To be fair, the council has taken pay cuts and no raises in 15 years.

"Since 2000, we've had 2 pay cuts so it's more of a reinstatement. For me personally, it would be a pay raise," Leland said.

So what will the city council vote to do with the compensation commission recommendation? That's the question that still lingers.

"Stay tuned, Charlie," Leland said Wednesday.

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