The City of Evanston, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, has disclosed the salaries of city employees.

The disclosure makes it possible, apparently for the first time, for the public to determine how the pay of Evanston city workers compares with that of their counterparts in other towns, like Skokie and Wilmette.

The City of Evanston, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, has disclosed the salaries of city employees.

The disclosure makes it possible, apparently for the first time, for the public to determine how the pay of Evanston city workers compares with that of their counterparts in other towns, like Skokie and Wilmette.

Those towns have included individual salary data in their municipal budget documents for years, while Evanston has not.

An initial look at the data suggests that for several top-level jobs there is little variation in pay levels among the three communities.

The city or village manager, the fire and police chiefs, and the heads of the community development and public works departments each make within a few thousand dollars of their counterparts in the neighboring towns.

But there are sizable differences for other top positions.

Evanston has an added level of management bringing together the information technology, human resources and finance units under an Administrative Services department director, a position that doesn’t exist in the other towns.

Evanston’s assistant city manager makes far more than his counterparts in the other towns, but also has additional responsibilities.

The nurse who heads Wilmette’s two-person health department makes far less than her counterparts in Skokie and Evanston, where the health departments are much larger.

The city attorney in Evanston makes somewhat less than his counterpart in Skokie, while Wilmette has contracted out that job.

The head of Evanston’s information technology division makes significantly more than his counterparts in Skokie or Wilmette.

The head of Evanston’s utilities department makes substantially more than the division heads within public works in Skokie and Wilmette who run their water operations.

And the interim finance manager in Evanston makes substantially less than the finance directors in the other towns.

The library and parks directors in Evanston don’t have counterparts in Skokie or Wilmette, because those functions in the other towns are run by separate government entities.

Those who’d like to delve more deeply into the data can follow the links to each community’s information below.

Related links

The Evanston salary data as provided in response to the FOIA request. 

The Skokie data is in the budget section of the village website, mostly in the general fund (.pdf) sub-section.

The Wilmette data is in the budget section of the village website, in the personnel salaries (.pdf) sub-section.
 

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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12 Comments

  1. City reveals what its workers earn

    Thanks for sharing this article Bill. Please note that City of Evanston employee Salaries DO NOT include their benefits.

  2. Looks like a huge payroll

    Looks like a huge payroll with many large salaries. How do we find out what the individual jobs are? For instance, I saw three park employees this morning making an ice skating rink. One of them was holding the hose and the other two were watching. What’s up with that?

  3. extra pay for water dept head makes sense

    Since Evanston’s water department has the job of taking in and processing water from Lake Michigan with the infrastructure and responsibility that entails, it seems to me to be reasonable that our water department head makes more than in other places.

    1. Perhaps …

       … but Wilmette also draws water from Lake Michigan and processes it in its own plant. (Skokie, of course, does not. It buys water from Evanston.)

      — Bill

       

  4. Titles would have been more appropriate

    I’m confused as to why the salary list was published by named individual, rather than by job title. I can’t actually use the list for comparative purposes, as the article presents it. “The disclosure makes it possible, apparently for the first time, for the public to determine how the pay of Evanston city workers compares with that of their counterparts in other towns, like Skokie and Wilmette.” Not really. Since I don’t know what Suzie Smith’s job is, I don’t know who her counterpart is somewhere else.

    1. Titles

      You’re right, but the data was provided by the city with names, not titles.

      If you have a name you can often learn the title by searching for the name on the city website, or, for folks who get quoted in the press, by searching for the name here on Evanston Now.

      — Bill 

  5. Parks & Recreation

    This list is enormous and there are a lot of people (I counted 40) who are making over $100,000 per year.  And remember, unlike the private sector, these folks are getting generous defined benefit pensions and likely have to contribute very little or nothing to their health insurance.

    I’ve only started going through the list, but one thing that is stunning to me is how many highly compensated people work for Parks & Recreation.  Dorneker, D’Agostino and Gaynor all make over $120,000 per year not including generous pensions and benefits for positions with Parks and Recreation.  I don’t know the exact nature of their duties but I fail to see how any job in the Parks and Recreation arena can justify this level of compensation.

    I mean, if you just hired three random Joes off the street with no training or experience and paid them one third of what is paid to these individuals and had them try to perform their duties, would our City’s parks fall into shambles?  I doubt it.  I bet the average Citizen would hardly even notice a difference.

    And I’ve only gotten through the letter G, so there may be more people living high on the hog in Parks and Recreation.

    Didn’t Highland Park recently have a scandal regarding the excessive compensation paid to its Parks manager?  Is there something about Parks and Recreation that makes it a black hole for taxpayer money?

    1. Over Worked, Under Paid

      Every organization has some compensation abuses.  The salaries for the three mentioned employees in Parks & Recreation and the director of Water are puzzling for the level (or lack of) of services received.  It is the responsibility of the City Manager to ensure that the salaries are appropriate for the position and responsibilities.  The Council should demand an explanation for why these abuses have gone on so long.

      These small number of abuses distracted from the bigger picture.  Most of Evanston’s managers are over-worked and under-paid.  Among municipal professionals in the area, Evanston has a reputation as a terrible place to work.  The citizens are considered obnoxious and rude.  The Council is viewed as incompetent.  This is the reason so many managers took the early retirement incentive a few years ago.  It is why Evanston is having a difficult time recruiting competent staff.

      For those competent managers on the city staff, they deserve every dollar we pay them.

  6. Layoffs

    Of course, the employees laid off last year were not making six figure incomes. Perhaps if they’d chosen a few managers to lay off instead of rank and file staff, we’d be looking at a different picture now. (But which managers when asked who to lay off are going to choose themselves?) 

  7. Admin Services

     Holy canoli … admin services makes over $100,00!!! ????? and that not including benefits!!!  Boy!  Did I ever get steer to the wrong business area … I should have gotten a job with the City of Evanston.

  8. Unions

    I wonder what impact the Unions have had on these salaries and benefits (not included in the reporting)? 

    1. Most of these positions are

      Most of these positions are management positions that are not covered by collective bargaining.

      I find it very strange that the right-wingers, who are always willing to defend the high salaries of CEO’s and other corporate criminals, seem to expect management in the public sector to work for minimum wage.  

      How do these salaries compare to those of managers at Chase Bank or Blue Cross?

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