After a number of elected officials declined to comment or dodged calls, the Daily News requested payroll data from the City Controller's Office to figure out who was keeping the raise. According to data from the first pay period of the year, at least nine elected officials are taking the money; 11 are giving it back to the city or to charity. Four others received the money, but three said they planned to give it back and one said she was undecided.
Those giving it back said they felt an obligation to help the city, which has struggled financially since the 2008 economic crash.
"The city faces numerous fiscal challenges and I believe in trying to lead by example. We continue to ask citizens to make a variety of sacrifices," said Nutter, who has given close to $100,000 back since 2008 through voluntary salary cuts and by refusing COLA payments. "I think it's a part of me personally doing my part."
Members of the city's blue- and white-collar unions, have not gotten raises since their one-year contract expired at the end of June 2009. Firefighters haven't gotten raises because their arbitration award is still being challenged by the city, while police received 3 percent raises in July 2010 and July 2011.
Most of the veteran Council members and other elected officials have passed on some raises and/or given money back over the past four years.
Councilman Bill Green, who is taking the COLA, has given up $22,752 in salary since 2008. He said the decision is complicated.
"I think everybody has to make their own personal decision. Rather than give it to the Friends of the Free Library, I've decided there are other charitable priorities," Green said. n
Contact Catherine Lucey at 215-854-4172 or firstname.lastname@example.org.