Committee proposes increasing wages for aldermen by more than 50 percent

Robin Opsahl, City Editor

The committee tasked with recommending wages for the upcoming cycle of elected officials considered increasing aldermen’s wages by over 50 percent at its meeting Tuesday.

The Mayor’s Compensation Committee considered information compiled by the City Clerk’s office that it had requested at an earlier meeting, looking at historic City Council salary increases, the amount of time current aldermen spend working and possible new funding models. Using the compiled data, the committee looked at increasing aldermanic wages from $12,990 in the current fiscal year to $20,000 per year for the next cycle.

According to the meeting’s minutes, there were differing viewpoints brought up by committee members on whether to raise the wages. The wage increase would put Evanston’s aldermen at a much higher pay than most in similar size communities or in municipal governments overall. However, members of the committee also recognized that decreasing the financial burden of taking on a role as alderman would be lessened through the wage hike.

Another idea proposed was the concept of a “cafeteria plan” model of payment, which would give each alderman a pool of money they could either use toward a city health insurance plan or take in cash. In this situation, aldermen would have to pay the same rate for health insurance as the rest of the city, as opposed to the 10 percent of the cost the officials currently pay.

The committee is scheduled to meet again in two weeks to discuss the possible recommendations. After the committee decides on a plan, they will seek approval from the current City Council.

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