Council delays action on salary changes for aldermen, city clerk

Nora Shelly, Assistant City Editor

Aldermen delayed action on salary changes for themselves and the city clerk Monday night and approved a 23.1 percent salary increase for the mayor.

The council had previously voted to send the ordinances addressing salary changes for the aldermen, the city clerk and the mayor to the Rules Committee for further review. The Committee made no revisions to the ordinances addressing salary changes for the aldermen and city clerk and instead sent them as written back to the Council. Salaries for the mayor, aldermen, and city clerk are determined every four years, and recommendations are first made by a compensation committee appointed by the mayor.

The mayor’s salary was approved without discussion at Monday’s Council meeting. However, Ald. Ann Rainey (8th) moved to hold voting on the ordinance concerning aldermanic salary changes so it could be discussed and voted on by a full council, as several aldermen were absent on Monday.

Ald. Melissa Wynne (3rd) said before Rainey made the motion to hold the ordinance that she would vote against the aldermanic pay raise, also a raise of 23.1 percent, but instead would support a cost-of-living increase.

“The city council should stay in line with the city of Evanston employees regarding their compensation, especially now that Illinois is in such financial difficulties,” she said. “I don’t feel comfortable at all supporting a 23 percent increase in pay for city council members.”

Clerk Rodney Greene requested to hold discussion on the ordinance addressing salary changes for the city clerk.
One ordinance would have increased aldermanic pay to $15,990 starting next May, an increase of $3,000, while the other ordinance would have raised the city clerk’s salary yearly at the same percent non-city union employees’ salaries are increased.

Aldermen have disagreed on other aspects concerning their compensation, including differences in health care costs between aldermen, as some receive plans that cost the city more than others and some have chosen to opt out of the city’s health care plan completely.

At a Rules Committee meeting earlier this month, Rainey argued that those who receive no health care from the city or whose plans cost far less than those of others should receive an additional stipend to account for the differences.

“There is discrepancy and discrimination and unfairness and inequality there,” she said at the Rules Committee meeting. “You’re entitled to that insurance, I have absolutely no qualms about that. I want you to get it, I just think I should be treated in the same way you’re treated.”

Other aldermen on the committee disagreed, and Rainey’s motion to give additional stipends to those who have lower health insurance costs failed.

The ordinances concerning salaries for the aldermen and the city clerk will be addressed at the Sept. 12 meeting.

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Twitter: @noracshelly