As he prepares to leave office, Mayor Street has decided to take the pay raise that City Council approved in late 2003, thereby boosting his salary from its current $144,000 to $186,000 and providing him a lump-sum payment of almost $111,000.
That $111,000 payment is the cumulation of annual increases for four years, starting with a Council-approved pay hike to $165,000 at the start of Street's second term and then three cost-of-living increases.
This comes atop a $452,700 payment after he leaves office for his participation in the deferred retirement option plan (DROP) and the annual pension of $115,700 that he'll start collecting in 2008.
In all, the payments will provide Street, who began his public service in Council in 1980, with a tidy nest egg as he begins teaching a couple of sections of an urban-politics course at Temple University in Janaury.
When Council passed the pay bill in 2003, setting salaries for a variety of top city positions and providing cost-of-living increases, Street vetoed the bill. Later, Council overrode the veto, and Street made clear that he would not take the pay increase that moved the mayor's salary to $165,000.
But in early 2004 he chose to take three years' worth of cost-of-living increases from his first term as mayor, a decision that boosted his salary from $135,000 to the $144,000. The accumulated COLA's that year fattened one paycheck by almost $17,000.
Through a spokesman, Street confirmed that he'll be collecting the $111,000.
Finance Director Vincent Jannetti said Street had decided to accept the 2003 pay increase. "He had deferred the increases, and now he has decided not to defer them anymore," he said.
According to the complex formula used to determine cost-of-living increases for the mayor, Council and other top officials, there was no COLA in 2004. In 2005, the increase was 4.38 percent, in 2006, 3.43 percent and this year 4.44 percent.
In early 2005, when the Daily News learned that Street had retroactively taken cost-of-living increases from his first term, the mayor defended his decision, noting, "I don't want people to think that somehow this was underhanded or something wrong. I was entitled to those raises."
His decision not to take the original raise of $165,000 as set by ordinance came amid a mayoral campaign and not long after an FBI eavesdropping device was found in his office. He also said the pay raise sent the wrong signal as the city prepared for labor negotiations in 2004.
Street's last-minute salary jump will not have any implications for his pension, which was set at the time he signed up from DROP in May 2004. Mayor-elect Michael Nutter will earn $186,000, but it will be subject to a COLA as of July 1. *