L.A.'s Elected Leaders to See Big Jump in Pay

Times Staff Writer

Elected officials in Los Angeles are scheduled to get two hefty pay raises in the next two years, city officials confirmed Wednesday. The salary for a City Council member will climb to about $162,000 in 2008 -- a significant bump from the current $149,160.

Since 1990, the City Charter has tied the salaries of elected officials to those of California's Superior Court judges. The pay for judges is determined by a complex formula that takes into account the average raises of all state employees.

When the judges get a raise, so do elected officials in the city. In this case, officials said the council is scheduled to get a 4.25% raise Jan. 1 and another 4.25% increase a year later. Last year's raise came to about 3.7%.

The size of the raises troubled taxpayer advocates and city employee union leaders.

"It seems disproportionate when most people in the private sector are not getting anything at all," said Jonathan Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. "It proves that the public sector is a sweet deal."

The pay hikes also rankled Robert Aquino, head of the Engineers and Architects Assn., which has been offered a three-year contract with raises averaging about 2% a year.

"It is very hypocritical that they would agree to take these raises when they are giving their own employees so little," Aquino said. "It's not fair."

Also getting more money will be Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Controller Laura Chick and City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo. The mayor's current salary is $193,908, the controller's $164,076 and the city attorney's $178,992.

With the raises, the Los Angeles council members will remain the highest paid in the nation. Their New York City counterparts make $90,000.

L.A.'s elected officials have the option of turning down pay raises. Last year, none did so.

Times staff writer Patrick McGreevy contributed to this report.

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