ST. LOUIS – The St. Louis Board of Aldermen voted Friday to double their pay from $37,500 a year to $72,000.

Alderwoman Carol Howard sponsored the legislation that passed on a vote of 15 to 8.

“Aldermen have always been underpaid most aldermen have had to hold another job in order to support their families,” Howard said. “Hopefully, this will allow aldermen to make this their only job and serve the city better than they have before.”

However, Alderman Joe Vaccaro is against the pay raise and voted no.

“It’s insane, it’s a slap in the face to every city employee and every alderman that voted for it,” he said. “I would on record and say you should vote against them, the public needs to stand against this. This is flat wrong; I strongly urge the mayor to veto it.”

In 2012, residents voted to cut the number of aldermen in half from 28 down to 14. The raises will take effect once the new aldermen are elected to the down-sized Board.

Proponents argue that each alderman will have a bigger ward with more work to do once the Board is cut in half. Still, the wards will not be the size of a St. Louis County Council or a state representative.

Howard said she is retiring from the Board of Aldermen.

“Here’s my thought, if aldermen don’t live up to what they’re supposed to do, the voters need to let them know by voting them out,” she said.

The St. Louis Police Officers Association released the following statement:

“At a time of historic staffing shortages, the Board of Aldermen has addressed the problem by rewarding themselves first and putting their employees last.”