One of the perks of being a politician is that you can increase your paycheck whenever you want, if you can get enough of your buddies to go along with you.
But for some, even that is not enough.
Congress put its pay on automatic pilot years ago.
(“There is no distinctly native American criminal class except Congress,” Mark Twain once said.)
Although most people don’t know it, the sly Gang of 19 that makes up the Jacksonville City Council, did the same.
A few years ago, they deemed themselves to fall under a statewide law that automatically raises the pay of county commissioners in the state. (The council also qualifies as a county commission, being the governing body of the consolidated city and county government.)
Or does it?
The ordinance code says: “Each member of the Council, other than the Council President, shall receive an annual salary equal to one-half of the salary allowed for a member of the Board of County Commissioners in a county with a population equal to that of Duval County, in accordance with the provisions of F.S.145.031(1) and 145.19.”
Florida Statute 145.031 states this: “No member of a governing body of a chartered county or a county with a consolidated form of government shall be deemed to be the equivalent of a county commissioner for the purposes of determining the compensation of such member under his or her respective charter.”
That appears to make the City Council not eligible for the same pay as county commissioners.
Legally or not, it passed 15-4, according to Council Member Rory Diamond — who was so irritated when he found out that he wrote a bill to require council members to vote yea or nay on any pay raise they get. It was filed Wednesday.
With a sense of humor, he named his bill the “No Obligatory Pay Enlargement” bill (NOPE).
Chances are, some of the other members won’t chuckle.
Diamond noted the $2,302.56 pay raise increased council salaries to $52,276.56. That’s about the median salary in America for a full-time job. Being a council member is a part-time job.
“Raising politician’s salaries in the middle of a pandemic and an economic crisis is just wrong and smacks of arrogance,” Diamond said.