The Detroit City Council has approved contracts and raises that will pay some staffers as much as $90,000.

At least 38 contracts or raises were approved Wednesday afternoon. Most run through June 30, 2011 and come at a time when Mayor Dave Bing is threatening layoffs in an effort to cut expenses and a legacy budget deficit of $85 million or more.

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Council members defended the pay for staffers, saying they don’t receive benefits or pensions.

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Salaries are paid from each council member’s yearly budget of more than $700,000.

A contract for one legislative assistant to Councilwoman Brenda Jones tops out at $18,800. Ken Cockrel Jr.’s senior policy adviser will make $84,000, while an attorney will earn $90,000 as James Tate’s legislative assistant.

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