Cathy Lanier is the fourth-highest-paid police chief in the country, and a D.C. Council committee want to stop her salary from climbing any higher.
The committee headed by Ward 3 Councilwoman Mary Cheh has recommended the council approve Lanier's $253,817 annual salary when it meets on Tuesday, but suggests the approval also cap her salary at that mark. The committee is suggesting the same be done for D.C. schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson's $275,000 annual salary, which is also the fourth-highest in the country among people in similar positions. The salaries for both Lanier and Henderson are higher than the $199,700 cap on members of President Obama's Cabinet.
"I have no complaint with the work Chief Lanier has done," Cheh told The Washington Examiner. "But in these times, when city employees are taking a pay cut through furloughs and some are losing their jobs, it's not appropriate for officials to make more than the president's closest advisers."
Source: Report from the D.C. Council's government operations committee
The District caps salaries for top officials at $179,096, so Mayor Vincent Gray had to go to the council to get approval for Lanier's and Henderson's paychecks. At $275,000, Henderson will take home the same salary as her predecessor, Michelle Rhee. Lanier, however, has seen her salary balloon more than $75,000 from when she started in 2007 with an annual paycheck of $175,000.
But Lanier's current contract ends in January, and if the council doesn't move to give her blanket approval for her above-the-cap salary, it might be able to force her to the negotiation table, police union chief Kris Baumann said.
"She has one of the greediest contracts I've ever seen," Baumann said. "They should let it lapse."
The vote to approve and cap the salaries will be just one of many scheduled for Tuesday's busy council session, the last before the two-month summer break.
The council will also take up a supplemental budget to approve spending about $100 million in new revenue that is predicted to fill the city's coffers this year. The vote will almost certainly include a push to kill a tax on out-of-state municipal bonds, although council members involved in the effort refused to discuss specifics of their plan.
It's also likely that there will be a robust discussion around at-large Councilman Phil Mendelson's emergency bill that would make the District a licensed gun dealer. Although a U.S. Supreme Court ruling required the District to lift a ban on handguns, there are currently no dealers able to sell guns in the city.