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Aldermen defer action on pay hikes

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Evanston aldermen Monday night postponed a vote on a pay increase for the city's elected officials and referred the issue to the City Council's Rules Committee.

The action came at the request of Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, who has objected to the pay hike plan recommended by the Compensation Committee appointed by the mayor.

The committee recommended that the aldermen receive a 23.1 percent increase in their cash compensation, to $15,990 per year, and continue to receive city-paid health insurance coverage.

That practice creates wide disparities in the total compensation to aldermen depending on whether they opt for health insurance coverage and whether the coverage they choose covers only themselves or their family as well.

Rainey has urged instead that the city let aldermen take an equivalent amount of additional pay in cash if they don't opt for the full family health benefit.

Because the city health plans require a smaller employee contribution than most private sector insurance plans, aldermen typically have opted for the city coverage even if they were eligible for insurance through their own outside employment or that of a spouse.

The Rules Committee is now scheduled to discuss the pay question on Aug. 1.

A city staff report on compensation of elected officials in other suburban Chicago communities indicated that the cash pay of Evanston aldermen is near the top of the range and hardly any of the other communities provide health benefits for their part-time elected officials.

Under state law each City Council, late in its term, is required to set the pay of the new council to be chosen in the election the following April.

In Evanston the mayor and aldermen are considered to be part-time positions. The only elected official with a full time position is the city clerk.

Related stories

Final vote set on 23 percent aldermanic pay hike (7/11/16)

Rainey urges revamping aldermanic pay (6/28/16)

Council to vote on 23 percent pay hike for aldermen (6/24/16)

Panel eyes doubling aldermanic pay (4/5/16)

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