City Council passes pay increases for aldermen

Nora Shelly, City Editor

Aldermen approved pay raises at their meeting Monday night for the next City Council and clerk.

Under the approved ordinances, both the mayor and aldermen will receive a pay increase of 23.1 percent, bringing their stipends up to $25,307 and $15,990, respectively. The clerk will receive a flat salary increase of $10,000, brining his salary from $53,265 to 63,265.

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. Changes to the mayor’s salary were approved at the Aug. 15 council meeting, but the ordinances addressing the salary for the clerk and aldermen were held due to ongoing discussion between aldermen. All elected officials are offered health care benefits as well.

Originally, the compensation committee proposed the clerk receive the same annual percentage increase a non-union city employee would receive. Clerk Rodney Greene expressed his opposition to the original proposal, saying it is important to maintain the distinction between an employee and an elected official and his position as the only elected full-time official was under appreciated. He said the pay increase should be the same percentage for every elected official — whether that is a 23 percent increase or an increase based on cost-of-living adjustments.

“You cannot separate one elected official from another,” Greene said during a presentation he gave Monday night. “If there is going to be a 23 percent increase, then there should be a 23 percent increase across the board for everybody.”

Greene said he wasn’t concerned with his salary so much as the integrity of his office.

“We’re not fighting over money,” he said. “I’m fighting over the respect and the position of the city clerk’s office, that this office is not demeaned and not being separated from any other elected official.”

During discussion of the ordinance, Ald. Donald Wilson (4th) — who was acting as mayor in place of Elizabeth Tisdahl — proposed giving the clerk a flat raise of $10,000. It was unanimously approved.

“This is really a question of what the appropriate salary is for the job,” Wilson said.

The pay raise for the aldermen passed 6-3. Aldermen Judy Fiske (1st), Melissa Wynne (3rd) and Brian Miller (9th) voted against it.

Wynne said at the Aug. 15 council meeting that she would support a salary increase in line with cost-of-living adjustments instead of the 23.1 percent 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 at the Aug. 15 meeting. “I don’t feel comfortable at all supporting a 23 percent increase in pay for City Council members.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @noracshelly