Italy(Brussels Morning) over a year, the salaries of city councilors have doubled. If we consider the summer months of 2022, during that time, members of the Civic Consesso contributed around forty thousand euros to the funds of Palazzo Zanca. However, for an equivalent number of sessions, their cost has now risen to approximately ninety thousand euros. This amount is anticipated to rise further from January 2024, as outlined in the adjustment passed on October 24. November serves as an emblematic example: while in October, most councilors received attendance fees based on the old law (resulting in a lower salary) for the majority of sessions, with only about ten sessions updated to comply with national legislation (effectively doubling the compensation).

In November, the city councilors received 100% adjusted compensation. Consequently, the total amount paid by Palazzo Zanca to the representatives of the Civic Council increased from forty thousand euros a year ago to fifty-eight thousand euros in October and eighty-eight thousand euros last month, equivalent to 114 euros per session compared to the expected 56 euros before October 24. Therefore, the sum of attendance fees for all 31 city councilors in November (excluding the president of the City Council) is 87,914.27 euros, and this figure is set to increase from January 2024.

Similar to October, in November, the councilor with the highest attendance record is Cosimo Oteri from Forza Italia, who participated in a total of 33 sessions, including commissions and the city council. The Civic Council representative thus earned the maximum salary, along with councilors Francesco Cipolla (Basile Mayor) and Giandomenico La Fauci (Ora Messina), who attended 32 and 31 sessions, respectively.

Despite the variance in session numbers, they all receive the same amount. This uniformity is due to a capped maximum amount set for city councilors, which stands at 3,339.95 euros. This figure represents 30% of the mayor’s earnings, currently amounting to 11,462.78 euros following an increase in the mayor’s allowance (previously calculated as 1/3 of the mayor’s salary, with a maximum of 1,639 euros). Consequently, regardless of the number of sessions attended, councilors cannot exceed this predetermined maximum amount.

This limit is expected to rise from January 1, 2024, by the adjustment that dictates the mayor’s monthly salary to be 13,800 euros. Consequently, the new ceiling for councilors will be adjusted to 4,140 euros, along with an increased attendance fee of 141.69 euros per session. Comparatively, this marks an almost double increase from a year ago. To illustrate, Councilor Libero Gioveni held the record with 33 appearances between July and August in the previous year, receiving 1,908.08 euros at that time, which was the maximum ceiling.

Ranked by attendance (and consequently by the total sum of attendance fees), the following councilors stand out: Concetta Buonocore (Gruppo Misto), Mirko Cantello (Lega), Giovanbattista Caruso (De Domenico Sindaco), Salvatore Caruso (With De Luca for Basile), Libero Gioveni (Fratelli d’Italia), and Raffaele Rinaldo (South Call North). Each of them actively participated in 29 meetings encompassing both the City Council and Commissions, earning a total of 3,314.70 euros.

Following closely, with 28 appearances, are councilors Giuseppe Busà (Basile Mayor), Nicoletta D’Angelo (Gruppo Misto), Raimondo Mortelliti (With De Luca for Basile), and Giuseppe Villari (Lega). For November, this group received a total compensation of 3,200.40 euros.

Additionally, Serena Giannetto (South calls North) received payment for November, participating in a total of 28 sessions. It’s worth noting that one of these sessions took place on October 23rd (before the adjustment), resulting in her total earnings being 3,142.22 euros. In November, she attended 27 sessions, similar to Dario Carbone (Brothers of Italy), Rosaria D’Arrigo (Basile Mayor of Messina), Rosario Di Ciuccio (Basile Mayor of Messina), and Emilia Rotondo (Lega).

Who holds the record for the highest number of absences? At the bottom of the list is consistently municipal councilor Maurizio Croce, for whom his colleague Nello Pergolizzi had sought dismissal due to unexplained absences. Croce, the former center-right mayoral candidate, secured his council seat by finishing second in the June 2022 elections but attended only two sessions. This is a marginal improvement from October when he was absent from proceedings. Slightly ahead of him, with a modest increase in attendance compared to October, is his Pd colleague Felice Calabrò, who participated in 11 sessions (compared to 5 in October).

Moving down the list, those with 20 or fewer appearances include Federica Vaccarino (Ora Sicilia), Pasquale Currò (Fratelli d’Italia), and Antonia Feminò (Basile Mayor), with 19, 18, and 18 meetings between the City Council and Commissions, respectively.

The President of the Municipal Council has a different compensation structure. Like municipal councilors, the president receives a fixed monthly salary equivalent to that of Municipal Councilors. In 2022, this amounted to 9,216.40 euros, increased to 11,133.18 euros from January 1, 2023, and set to further rise to 13,800 euros from January 2024, incurring additional costs for Palazzo Zanca.

The article was published in Italian by the Media Platform LetteraEmme

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