Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday he believes state lawmakers should hold their posts full-time, forgoing any other employment, and be paid more in exchange. He stopped just short of endorsing the concept for City Council members, some of whom also hold side jobs.
“We should have, I think, a ban on outside income, but again, only if there’s proper compensation to balance it,” de Blasio said at an unrelated midtown Manhattan event. His comment came when he was asked about state Assemb. Michael Blake. Blake (D-Bronx), who had considered and eventually declined an offer of a side job with the de Blasio-linked Hilltop Public Solutions political consultancy firm.
Former state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) was convicted last month on fraud, extortion and money laundering. The charges were linked to his role in a law firm where was counsel.
De Blasio, a Democrat, said Monday he was reserving his opinion on whether city lawmakers should reject outside pay, but observed, “Today, legislators are expected to be on top of issues instantly and to provide a lot of services to their communities. So I think their trend correctly is towards full-time.”
The de Blasio-appointed Quadrennial Commission is considering salary hikes for the first time since 2006 for all elected city officials, including City Council members and the mayor himself. Some city legislators, according to a published report, had sought a raise of 71 percent in exchange for giving up outside income and making other concessions.
The three-person commission is due to make its recommendations to the mayor this month.
De Blasio also said Monday that in light of the convictions of Silver and state Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), Albany should adopt a campaign finance system similar to the city’s, which uses public funds and has helped to “combat corruption effectively.”