Now, who said the Boston City Council was riven by bickering and internal tension?
Sure, a few weeks ago councilors appeared to be at each other’s throats, accusing one another of racism and fighting over a contentious district attorney’s race.
But apparently, nothing heals wounds quite like money. On Wednesday, in a picture of harmony, the councilors voted unanimously to boost their own salaries.
The pay raise went even beyond what Mayor Michelle Wu asked for. Councilors salaries would go up to $125,000 from $103,500. Wu’s salary would rise to $250,000 from $207,000. Those figures are $10,000 and $20,000 more than Wu proposed, respectively.
The bump would mean councilors make far more than most families in Boston, where the median household income is only $76,298.
It’s true that the pay raise won’t go into effect until the next election cycle. And yes, councilors deserve to be paid for what is supposed to be a full-time job.
But regular, smaller raises would be more palatable to the taxpayers who foot the bill, and even better would be to peg councilors’ salaries to the general economic health of the city. Though it’s an imperfect system, at the state level, salaries for lawmakers are tied to the state’s wage levels.
The pay hike also applies to some high-ranking city officials — that part of the plan makes sense to ensure the city offers competitive salaries that attract the most talented people.
Competitive considerations aren’t in play for city councilors, though — we trust that the councilors agree that current salaries were high enough to attract talented people. Plus, it’s not the kind of job that people leave if they get a better offer from the city council in Des Moines.
The truth is that it’s never going to be a good look for politicians to raise their own salary — which is why moving to a formula-based pay system would ultimately be in their own best interests. And while its recent bouts of infighting at City Hall made Wednesday’s unanimity on salaries touching, surely the council can find a better cause to unite around next time.
Editorials represent the views of the Boston Globe Editorial Board. Follow us on Twitter at @GlobeOpinion.