The D.C. Council is poised to pay more than 20,000 city employees, including council members, a combined $22 million this year to make up for the four unpaid holidays they were forced to take last year to quell budget pressures.
In his monthly news briefing Monday, council Chairman Kwame R. Brown said he and Mayor Vincent C. Gray agreed that a big chunk of an unexpected budget surplus for fiscal 2012 should go to pay the employees.
The council is scheduled to vote on the matter Tuesday. But the plan, a major victory for politically influential public-employee unions, is fueling a debate over whether the District’s surplus dollars should go to its 29,000-strong workforce when the city is considering tax increases and cuts to social-services programs.
“Clearly, we would love to give money back to everybody. . . . Unfortunately, you can’t,” said Brown (D). “The people who work every day in this city, that have been working hard and took their furlough days, deserve to get their money back, and that is what is on the table now.”