While New York City mulls layoffs for teachers, first responders and nearly every city worker under the sun due to the economic chaos caused by coronavirus, the radio silence from Corey Johnson about his own pay is deafening.
Council Speaker Corey Johnson on Thursday shrugged off a question about whether he’d take a pay cut as lawmakers hash out a budget with billions of dollars in proposed painful spending reductions.
“We’re happy to look at everything,” he said at a press conference. “It fits into the broader question of everything else that I talked about.”
Pressed on the matter, he said, “I’m not going to go item-by-item as part of the entire city budget.”
The comments echoed remarks from Mayor de Blasio, who said Wednesday he’s not planning salary cuts for himself or highly paid members of his administration.
Johnson earns $164,049 per year, according to the SeeThroughNY database; de Blasio, $258,541. Council members, who gave themselves a 32% raise in 2016, earn $148,500.
Top staffers rake in even more. Council Chief of Staff Jason Goldman earned $244,421 in 2019 and new Deputy Chief of Staff Genevieve Michel’s predecessor made $214,725, according to SeeThroughNY.net, which is run by the conservative Empire Center think tank.
De Blasio is seeking permission from Albany to borrow some $7 billion to cover a huge gap in the city budget. The move comes as President Trump and Senate Republicans have balked at requests to send billions of dollars in aid to localities.
De Blasio has warned of layoffs to first responders if the feds don’t come through.
Johnson said the agencies run by the mayor should make further cuts before the city takes on debt to cover operating expenses, which hasn’t been done since the aftermath of 9/11.
“We need to have every agency — and this should have happened already — go through the process of doing a … program identifying, I think, somewhere between 5 to 7% of cuts, cuts that are not going to affect vulnerable communities,” Johnson said.
De Blasio’s recently revised budget proposal included $800 million in cuts to the Education Department alone, a move that seemed sure to entail educator layoffs, critics said.
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