The City Council will give 550 council aides and central staffers approximately $3.9 million in raises for this year’s salaries and, retroactively, for last year’s salaries. The decision, which was not bogged down by any annoying "voting," was framed by Council speaker Christine Quinn's spokesperson as a "cost of living increase." Charles Meara, the Council's chief of staff and top paid employee, will see his salary go up to $209,973 from $194,132, a gain of $15,841. And his deputy chief of staff, Ramon Martinez III, got a nice bump too, from $191,664 to $207,303. (The Wonkster has a nice top 10 list of the Council's highest paid staffers.) The salary increases, which do not apply to council members, come on the heels of Mayor Bloomberg's $45 million in raises for his staff. And the city's district attorneys and borough presidents have given or are expected to give similar raises. Bucking the trend, City Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr., a cash-starved Democratic candidate for mayor, has frozen the salaries of all his employees who make over $90,000 a year. But how will they afford the cost of living?!