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Detroit officials ask for controversial pay raise

Mar 19, 2015

Detroit City Council
Credit Detroit City Council / Facebook

The Detroit bankruptcy is over, and now Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones and City Clerk Janice Winfrey want pay raises.

The request came just about the time city pensioners started feeling the cuts to their health care and pensions exacted by the Detroit bankruptcy.

Detroit News business columnist Daniel Howes recently wrote about the controversy. According to him, a survey conducted by the city's human resources department did prove that many city officials are underpaid in comparison to other cities. However, he emphasizes that he doesn't feel this means they should receive a raise, saying that the comparison to other municipalities is irrelevant because of the recent bankruptcy.

"I would suggest these folks should sit back and lead and worry a little less about themselves," Howes says.

Officials were also already provided with a five percent pay raise from emergency manager Kevyn Orr before his departure.

"I think one of the reasons Kevyn Orr did that was because he recognized that they were in a difficult spot and that they were somewhat underpaid relative to their peers, but he had to be judicious about it," Howes says.

But Howes is in disbelief that officials don't seem to comprehend how the situation appears.

"One of the roles of leadership is you understand symbolism, you understand political symbolism and what your actions say to your constituents and say to taxpayers," Howes says.

Howes doesn't think they will receive a raise.

He also questions whether the institutions that got into difficult financial situations can fundamentally change.