Mayor Bill de Blasio’s State of the City address last night was filled with big plans and high hopes.
But the state of city government is a bit of a mess. Just look at this week.
The City Council held a hearing Wednesday on a 32 percent pay hike for members. Some showed up late; others left early. And some had the audacity to say the new $148,500 salary isn’t enough. “Our salaries should be $175,000,” said Council member Ydanis Rodriguez.
No, they shouldn’t. The council’s arrogance knows no bounds.
Then there’s the mayor. Yesterday, his horse carriage compromise fell apart after the Teamsters, a key union backing the deal, withdrew their support. That led the council to pull its vote on a deal that aimed to reduce the number of horses and move them to Central Park.
That eliminated one public relations nightmare — the notion that council members would vote for the carriage plan only so they could get the raises. Now, it just looks like they stopped a vote on the horses so the pay hike wouldn’t look so bad — easy to do when many were lukewarm on the horses proposal anyway.
But another public perception problem unfolded when de Blasio was trapped in his car outside City Hall, waiting as carriage drivers rallied against his deal.
It’s unclear after this debacle how de Blasio moves forward on reforms. But it is clear the deal wasn’t ever done. He desperately wanted to resolve an issue that plagued his administration, but City Hall never provided enough answers or assurances, and doubts and concerns grew.
That brings us to today, when council members plan to vote on the $148,500 salary — $10,000 higher than an advisory commission recommended. They should stop the vote and start from scratch, but they won’t.
At least they should abandon the idea of making the raises retroactive. If the members vote on an increase, however, they also must pass a pending ethics package. There’s talk that some oppose any ban on outside income or committee chair bonuses. They mustn’t weaken those reforms.
The week ends with both the mayor and the council looking foolish. Let’s get serious.