The public gave City Hall an earful the other day when Mayor Masiello held a required hearing on the over-generous pay raises approved by the Common Council for itself, the mayor and City Comptroller Joel A. Giambra. Whatever the mayor decides to do about the raises, the public outcry shows the wisdom behind a reform measure junked by the Council and the mayor earlier this year.
Start with the idea that the city's elected officials ought to have a pay increase from time to time. What is the best way to do it? What's most acceptable?
In 1979, the Council changed the City Charter so that an election had to intervene between the time the raises were voted and the time they took effect. While there never is a time all 15 city elected positions are on the ballot together, the system was a cleaner one. It meant many of the officials had to win re-election before they could get the raise in their paycheck.
But last spring, Masiello and the Council combined to wipe the system out of the Charter. As was true before 1979, they can now vote themselves a pay hike any old time with no election intervening. So they did.
If the city officials are feeling the heat from the public for the newest round of raises, they have earned it.