Evanston aldermen Monday night indicated support for a plan to give all aldermen the same amount of total compensation, whether they take health benefits from the city or not.

Aldermen currently receive $15,990 in cash each year from the city and have the option of also receiving coverage under any of the city’s health insurance plans.

For an alderman who opts for family coverage that can mean total compensation valued at more than $37,000 a year, while an alderman who was single and only qualified for individual coverage would receive far less.

Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, who’s single and has no dependents, has objected to that model for years and at Monday’s Rules Committee meeting was finally able to persuade other aldermen of the merits of her position that aldermen should receive “equal pay” for their part-time job regardless of their family status.

The city’s Compensation Committee had recommended that aldermen only qualify for individual health coverage, but be able to receive the difference in cash if they opted not to take the city’s coverage. That, the committee suggested, would have saved the city some money while also equalizing the value of the compensation package each alderman received.

The plan the aldermen favored Monday would instead modestly increase the total cost of aldermanic compensation.

However the aldermen appeared to agree that there should be no cost of living increase in aldermanic compensation for the City Council’s next four-year term.

The aldermen also indicated they plan to leave the total compensation for the mayor and city clerk unchanged for the next four year term.

The aldermen directed city staff to come back to the next Rules Committee meeting at 5 p.m. on Oct. 19 with a memo that would discuss any tax implications of the new compensation scheme.

Under state law each City Council is required to set the compensation for the elected officials to be chose in the next election.

City staff had proposed that the new elected officials get no pay increase for the first two years of their term and then 2.5% increases in each of the last two years.

The charts below indicate the cash compensation Evanston’s elected officials have received in the past along with the pay hikes staff had proposed.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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