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D.C. Council Considers Forgoing Automatic Raises

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Workers in the city government aren't getting automatic raises this year, so some on the D.C. Council are waiving their $3,000 salary bumps.
Mallory Noe-Payne
Workers in the city government aren't getting automatic raises this year, so some on the D.C. Council are waiving their $3,000 salary bumps.

D.C. Council members are supposed to get an automatic raise this year, but some are now questioning if that's appropriate.

The Council is already one of the highest-paying legislatures in the country. Council members earn $125,000 a year, but they are allowed to hold down outside jobs, and some on the council make as much as $200,000 a year in outside income. The council chairman is paid $190,000 a year, but is not allowed to have a second job.

After two years of no pay increases, council members are now scheduled to receive an extra $3,000 this year, as part of an automatic cost of living increase that was written into law several years ago. Some, including Council member Mary Cheh, are signing waivers to forego that raise.

"I don't think I would feel comfortable getting a raise while others are not," says Cheh.

The councilwoman, who also earns money teaching law at George Washington University, says the city is facing a tough budget climate and council staff and city government workers are not subject to these raises.

Councilman Tommy Wells, who does not have a second job like Cheh, says he thinks the pay increase is fair and says others are treating the issue as a game.

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