D.C. Council members are paid the most per-resident in a study of 15 major U.S. cities by the Pew Charitable Trusts.
Washington spends $32.41 on council salaries per District resident, the report says. The average salary for the 12 members is $130,538, the second-highest average in the study, trailing only Los Angeles.
Council members defended their salaries in a Washington Post report, noting they carry many responsibilities greater than in a normal U.S. city:
“No other city in the country confronts the kinds of issues confronted by ours,” said council member David Catania (I-At Large). “It’s frankly absurd to compare us to other cities. Cities don’t organize prison systems. Cities don’t organize mental health systems. ... Cities don’t have oversight over electricity regulation. ... We are a state, county and city all under one roof.”
Council member Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) was even more blunt.
“We deserve more, quite frankly,” Barry said. “This government is the most unique government of any government in the world. ... We put in 40 or 50 hours a week in addition to constituent service. I think we are really underpaid.”
What do you think? Are council members making too much money? Can D.C. afford to spend more than $1.5 million on council salaries, in addition to staffing costs? Answer the poll below, and leave your comments.