The average City of Evanston employee will earn total compensation of $92,500 next year.

That’s one of the facts that can be gleaned a new pay database just posted on the city’s website.

The $92,500 figure is the median, or midpoint salary and benefits figure expected to be earned by the city’s 837 employees.

The median for salary alone is $65,000.

The difference is made up by health insurance, pension and other payments made by the city on the employee’s behalf.

The figures do not include overtime pay that some workers may earn during the coming year.

The figures do include data for dozens of part-time employees, some of whom make only a few thousand dollars a year.

At the high end of the scale 28 employees have total compensation of over $150,000 a year — led by City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz, whose compensation package totals $264,669.

The report also shows that seven of the nine city aldermen supplement their $12,000 part-time pay with health insurance benefits that cost taxpayers more than $14,000 a year on average.

A new state law requires local governments to disclose the pay data for employees earning more than $75,000. But Evanston officials decided to go further and post the salary information for all its employees.

The city has posted less comprehensive employee salary information online for the past several years.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Where do I sign up?

    I'm sure those figures are some what skewed, but if they're right, where can apply?

  2. Clarity about data

    "Average" and "median" are two different things, please be more careful in the reporting of this article.  I suspect many readers will also not realize, if they simply skim the opening paragraph, that the figure is for combined salary and benefits.

    1. Stated

      The article clearly states median, and not average — and even provides a definition of median.  The opening paragraph also states the figure is for total combined benefits.  How much simpler can this get?

  3. Fire Dept compensation is killing us

    “The average City of Evanston employee will earn total compensation of $92,500 next year.

    The $92,500 figure is the median, or midpoint salary and benefits figure expected to be earned by the city's 837 employees.”

    My third grader knows that the average (the sum of a bunch of numbers divided by the number of numbers) compensation for City employees is different than the median (the middle number in a group of numbers).

    The amazing info from this list is that fully two-thirds (66 of 100) of the top 100 compensated employees work in Police and Fire, and this compensation does not include the enormous liability cost of the generous police and fire pensions.  By generous I mean, for example, that surviving spouses of Evanston firefighters receive 100% of the firefighter’s pension for the rest of their lives. Think about that.

    Remember – nine out of ten Fire Department employees live outside of Evanston. Its understandable why cops don't live in Evanston, but why not the highly compensated firefighters?

    1. Average

      "Average" is a term with many different meanings.

      Among the most common are the arithmetic mean, the median and the mode.

      You, or your third grader, could learn more about the various possibilities from this article on Wikipedia.

      Our story makes it crystal clear which average is being used in the third paragraph. I would hope it wouldn't strain your attention span to read that far.

      — Bill

    2. Residency Requirements for all City of Evanston Employees

      Should absolutely be on the table folks.

      1. Then residency for all

        Then residency for all employees. You should have to live in the city you work regardless of profession. McDonald's, secretary of a law firm, janitor. You name it. Apparently it makes you a better employee. I like better tasting hamburgers. I think they would taste better if the cook lived in the town he cooked them.

        1. Residency

          You can laugh but residency requirements are not usual much less ill advised.  Evanston taxpayers are paying significant amounts of money to City of Evanston employees in salaries, benefits and pension.  Why would we not want those millions plowed back into our local economy and real estate? 

          In addition, employees who also live in the same town are much more aware and invested in its success than commuter employees.  They have the "kitchen table" viewpoint and insider knowledge of what is going on thru their involvement in local institutions, schools and civic activities and an incentive to do their best work as it affects them, their families and their neighborhoods directly.  Public employees can bring tremendous value.  The City of Chicago requires residency for its employees and it has a tremendous economic impact and has saved the social fabric of many of its neighborhoods. 

    3. Residency Requirements–Why?

      Can someone explain to me why it is a good idea to require anyone to live anywhere?  As an American, I believe it should be my right to raise my family in whatever community I choose, regardless of where I work.  While I understand why mayors, city council members, and other politicians who play representative roles in govenrment should live in specific communities, I fail to see why we would require anyone else to give up their right to choose a school system, neighborhood, religious parish, or any other defining factors in choosing a community in which to live.  I believe that when I call 911 because my house in on fire the firemen who appear at my door will be qualified–regardless of whether they live next door to me or in Glenview.  And more importantly, I don't believe that I or any other Evanstonian has the right to dictate where firefighters should or should not live. 

    4. Should police and firemen who

      Should police and firemen who are college educated and specially trained in their professions be given low salaries simply because they are public employees? Do you want to attact low level first reponders? People who make split second decisions to determine life and death. Employees who put their lives on the line for the community they SERVE! I want the top people in their profession not the slugs. They should be compensated well and still they get paid low for what they do.

  4. People spend a lot of their

    People spend a lot of their salaries or wages where they live.  At lunch time, pick up cleaning, go to nearby stores, run errands, eat.  For those who live in the city where they work, the city's tax base benefits from each local expenditure.  Then consider evenings, weekends and days off.  Again, people tend to spend where they live.  Thus, city employees who live outside Evanston spend a lot there, and those who live in Evanston contribute back to the city where they live and work.

    We have reason to ask city employees to live right here.

    1. On one hand people are making

      On one hand people are making comments that the police and fire make too much money and then say they should be mandated to live in town. The salaries that they make are not  compatible with purchasing a home and raising a family in Evanston. Police and Firemen have the same housing desires that other people have and should not be forced into condo and apartment living to raise a family. They want the same things everyone else wants…a yard, a garage, a peaceful street. Should their choices be limited because they choose to protect The City of Evanston?

      Additionally, the number of hours worked is not posted. The higher salaries are reflective of longer hours (overtime, details, etc..) not a simple 40-hour work week.  So to you who said, "Where do I sign up?" you better have a good understanding of what that means. Long hours, weekends, holidays, midnights, afternoons, cold, hot, etc…

      1. Cops and firemen can afford to buy a home in Evanston

        R U kidding?

        The average salary for a cop and fireman is about $75,000.  That is a gross monthly salary of $6,250.

        A $200,000 home with a 30 year note and 4 percent interest would be about a $955 monthly mortgage. There are a ton of homes in Evanston that cost $200,000 and under.

        Most Evanston cops and firemen can afford to buy a home in Evanston.

        1. I’d like to see the $200,000 home listings, please.

          Show me a $200,000 decent sized home, modestly updated, with a yard, and NOT in the high-crime areas of Evanston. You can't. However, you can go to the north or west of Evanston and find just that, so why is that wrong? Does every city employee at City Hall live in Evanston? How about the Librarians, Water Department, Forestry, Streets & Sanitation? How about our school administration? What about the faculty at NU? All of these positions are filled with workers who have a desire to make Evanston a better place. How is it fair to force them to live within the city limits? You can bet there would be considerable job turnover if that requirement went into effect….and good luck finding replacements.

          It's ridiculous to expect police officers to live next door to the people they may have to arrest one day. It's unfair to expect an off-duty officer to shop around Evanston with his/her family and risk coming into contact with a former arrestee. You better believe these repeat offenders know the officers by name, in plain clothes or uniform.

          The citizens of Evanston need to realize how lucky they are to have a diverse, experienced police force. This is accomplished by NOT having a residency requirement and accepting job applications from good candidates, regardless of where they sleep at night.

          1. Amen to that

            All good points.    I hope the citizens of this town let all our hardworking police and fire members live wherever they choose..   I gladly support paying for your services with my tax dollars, but I don't expect any of you to be  indentured servants on your own personal time, regardless of what other cities may force this upon their workers.

            We are a free country, no?

          2. under 200k in 60202 and 60201

            Here are the 103 listings in 60202 for $200k or less:


            and here are the 90 listings in 60201:


            I have no opinion on living in Evanston for civil servants, but the idea that you cannot get in Evanston for $200k is not correct.  These include condos on Hinman North of Lake Street.  1400 block of Florence — not a super wealthy area, but not bad crime wise.

            And this does not include foreclosures.  Harder to buy cuz you need more up front, but if you add those in – now is the time to buy in Evanston.  

          3. Value

            What makes you think anyone wants to buy a condo or small ranch for $200,000?!  You must not be good with your money.   Usually most people try to get the most for their money.  Evanston is not the place to do that.  I live in Evanston and I believe my taxes are outrageous…and most of it is going to schools that I wouldn't even dream of sending my kids to.  And I went to these schools!

            I guarantee you that the homes/condos under $200,000 in Evanston are not desired by most, especially with a family, and if it is…it's probably in a dangerous neighborhood.

            And don't forget, the housing market just went under, it's still recovering.  These aren't your standard home values for Evanston.


          4. I’m great with my money – thanks for asking

            I'm great with my money, thanks for asking (oh wait, you just assumed and insulted, but here you go anyway).  I have 2 kids on their way to college over the next 4 years and on my (slightly more) than an Evanston fireman's salary, I have enough money saved to pay for both of them to go to public universities.  And I have a house in Evanston.  And I am on track to retire at 65.

            Yes, the market is low right now which makes it a GOOD time to buy in Evanston.Buy low, sell high — remember?  That is how you get the most for your money – not by buying more house than you can afford.  

            And I live in a house worth about $245k right now and my neighborhood is not dangerous.   I bought it early in my career and as my salary has gone up, we have stayed put even though we could more closer to the beach, to a whiter neighborhood (though not one much safer), or whatever.  INstead, I paid my student loans, saved for college and retirement and when the housing market crashed, I was never under water (though we got close for a minute there).

            Have you read the millionare next door?  YEah — that's me.  Older cars, modest house, and A LOT of money in the bank.

            So yeah, if you have to have a mansion close to thebeach, you are not going to find it in Evanston for 200k.  BUt if you want to live in Evanston, own a home, and make a fireman's salary, it is certianly possible.  

            Oh, and there is a stay-home-parent in our house too doing the important work of raising our children.  IT can be done.  

          5. It’s you again…I mean Me

            It's you again…I mean Me Again,

              First of all, I'd like to congratulate you on your fiscal responsibility.  Give yourself a pat on the back…you deserve it.

              Buy low, sell high is a great plan…unless you already own a home.  It's not sell low, buy low–remember?  And getting more for your money does not mean buying a house that is more than you can afford…just so you know "millionare next door".  Buying a home that has more square feet, bigger lot, safer neighborhood, and lower taxes…but still in your price range…is getting more for your money.  

              And the home listing you provided is not that impressive.  Again, not a lot of people want to live in a condo and waste their money on association fees.

          6. I have thanks

            I must be missing something — I thought the question is:  should we force civil servants to live in Evanston?  SO the current condition of the housing market (low) is relevant.  If you already own a home, yes I get that the value fluctuates.  But if the question is:  do we hire from people who live in Evanston or are willing to move to Evanston? the point is that there is housing.  And they are not all condos.  

            If the question is:  should we make EXISTING employees move? then I get you.  It is cruel and I hope illegal because yes they could own houses elsewhere – making it buy low and sell low — but that is outrageous — we couldn't and wouldn't do that (would we?).  

            I read this as making it a condition of employment going forward.  And if that is the policy being considered then I still think it is possible.

            If we were discussing this in person I predict we would disagree on where is "safe" in Evanston.  (and I never would have told you all that about myy finances — my dad taught me that is rude, but I figured it was relevant)

            We chose a larger house in a neighborhood you probably think is not as safe as you would like.  We chose a more colorful neighborhood (nowhere near the high school though — that is too dangerous for me) precisely to have more bedrooms and no adjoining walls because we like to make loud music.  It's trade offs.  We wanted the (relatively) good schools, university community/commerce, lake access, and a house.  So you have to take proximity to  abusier street and a little more petty crime than is perfect.  It is just tradeoffs.  


  5. Top 10

    TOP 10 reasons why police officers and firefighters do not live in Evanston.

    10. A $200,000 single family house in evanston gets you a 3 bedroom 1 bath bungalow near Church and Dodge.

    9. Average tax bill is $10,000, which comes out to roughly $850 per month, plus the principal/interest on a SFH. About $2500 per month for a $250,000 house, that's half their salary.

    8. Police/Firefighters do not believe in saving trees, more like target practice.

    7. Evanston thinks a gun buyback program is how violent crime is reduced.

    6. Evanston is against 2nd Amendment.

    5. A doggie beach.

    4. City officials voted against a Tilted Kilt.

    3. Every conversation regarding police has to do with race.

    2. Evanston prides itself in diversity, but is very segragated within it's neighborhoods.

    1. Evanstonians just voted 84% Democrat.

    No need for government sponsored survey regarding why our 1st responders don't live here.

    1. I have to meet

      I have to meet the guy or gal that wrote this top ten list…I think we'd get along really well!

  6. NO need for residency for employees, it becomes a excuse!

    I see no need for residency, it becomes another excuse for public officials to keep city employees., when they perform useless job functions.

    Wally recently wanted to add a Crisis Coordinator he was going to put $85,000 in the budget for it, another Wally joke.  Why did he want this position?  At a budget hearing he was saying people were calling the council and Mayor when their water was turned off.  I think our public official need to hear from people when they just raised the water rates again.  Ofcourse their claim is they are the cheapest around.

    I remember at a recent meeting the Mayor praised a employee for getting her an award.  She stated the employee would go far. Frankly it appears to me this position should be eliminated.

    Then theres the other employee who screw up the yard waste stickers and cost us over 1.4 million dollars a year.  on our tax bills. Our idiot Mayor praises this employee.

    Frankly I don't care if any employees live here, we need competent people on staff, not people that kiss the public officials rear ends. There are competent people on staff, but they will leave if they are young, once they see the mess here.

    As far as police and fire, Wally isn't even looking at these departments, since he wants to play developer, and run a PR organization.  But don't blame Wally, he serves his masters who are clueless, the Mayor and council how to run the city.

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