Evanston aldermen are scheduled to vote Monday on a recommendation to give the next City Council a 23.1 percent pay hike.

The increase, which is roughly five times the increase in the cost of living over the last four years, was recommended by a special Compensation Committee appointed by the mayor.

The committee also recommended a 23.1 percent pay hike for the mayor, but it called for giving the city clerk, the only full-time elected official in the city, only the same annual salary increase as other Evanston non-union employees. Those increases have been generally in line with inflation in recent years.

Aldermen now make $12,990 a year. They’d get a $3,000 boost if the committee’s recommendation is approved. The mayor now makes $20,556 and would get a $4,751 increase to $25,307 under the committee’s proposal.

In addition to their cash compensation, Evanston aldermen, unlike elected officials in most metro area suburbs, also receive health insurance coverage. That is 90 percent paid for by the city and can nearly double their total compensation, depending on the health plan they choose.

The average total cost to taxpayers of an alderman or trustee in other nearby communities tends to be much lower than it is in Evanston.

But the committee claimed in its report that is “difficult to find truly comparable communities in terms of demographics … and the full responsibilities of elected officials.”

The committee said all of the elected officials “work very hard, and very effectively, for the benefit of the city and its citizens.”

And it added that it wanted to encourage citizens from all segments of the community to be financially able to serve.

The committee had considered and rejected various other compensation proposals — ranging from doubling aldermanic pay to setting up a compensation plan that would let let aldermen receive more cash if they chose a less expensive health plan.

Aldermanic compensation stayed roughly in line with the rate of inflation from 1977 through 2000, but has risen substantially faster than inflation since then and the proposed new pay scale would widen the gap still more.

Under state law each City Council, toward the end of its term, is required to set the compensation level for the new council to be elected next April

So far seven on the nine aldermen have said they plan to seek new terms in the April election.

The positions of mayor and aldermen are considered part-time in Evanston and some aldermen also hold down full-time jobs elsewhere, although others report no outside employment.

Aldermen received annual increases as a result of the last compensation vote four years ago. This time the committee is recommending an all-in-one increase with no further boosts during the new council’s four year term.

Related stories

Aldermen could get cafeteria pay plan (4/19/16)

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

Panel to consider pay hikes for aldermen (3/31/16)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Pay raise

    I wish I could "vote" myself a pay raise! Since they are elected officials, don't you think that public should vote on their pay raise?

    1. Aldermen raises

      I honestly didn't know which of these 4 comments to respond to……the alderman needing and getting raises is totally bogus.

      They all need to go! ….it's like giving kids an allowance when they won't clean their rooms, or help around the house with chores……what a scheme this is.

      They probably think Evanstonians are all suckers…Vote these people out soon! And hold aldermen accountable for making good decisions, and saving taxpayers money!

  2. Aldermen’s pay raise?

    This is the group that never made a decision about the Harley Clarke Mansion ;  that uses the City's funds for restaurants that are total abject failures. And they want to vote themselves a raise?

    Shouldn't they be giving their salaries back to the City?  Doesn't look like most of them did enough to earn what they were paid.

  3. taxation without representation?

    since countless numbers of taxpayers are out of town for summer vacations this is a perfect time to sneak this in.  what are the municipal rules for a referendum to deny such "insider deals?"  I'd be happy to go door to door to collect signatures…

  4. Give raise to police and firemen

    instead of voting themselves a raise, they should give it to the officers who protect and serve the citizens of Evanston.

  5. Use Pay Raise Dollars for DIVVY

    Since the Council is aware of potential losses with DIVVY Bike program. Lets use these dollars to cover those losses.

    1. Plus a 50% CUT in aldermaniac salary
      I like the Divvy idea, and use the 50% cut to repay those failed restaurant loans the council is so fond of handing out.

  6. I think they deserve every penny
    Being the Mayor or an Alder-person in the City of Evanston seems to me to be one of the most thankless jobs on this planet. And, I’d add – one of the lowest paid when one considers the amount of time (and grief) they put in (and receive) working for this community.

    I don’t always agree with their agenda and the outcomes of their votes, but I can’t imagine doing this job. I see lots of criticism in the comment section here and elsewhere and little or no appreciation for the long hours these fine people put in to manage the complicated multitude of issues and minutia on our behalf. Methinks they all deserve a raise!

    I ask the critics… if you don’t like it, run for mayor or alderman yourself (be a change agent)! I’d bet that if you’d add up all the hours our representatives put in on our behalf, it would be equal to barely a living wage.

    My two cents – and thanks to you Madame Mayor and members of the City Council, I admire your fortitude!

    Respectfully, Brian G. Becharas

    1. Well said Brian
      I agree with your view Brian.
      It’s easy for people to complain.

      The Mayor and Alderman spend hours upon hours doing work on
      behalf of our community.


    2. Who they spend their time representing
      I think most taxpayers who say they spend their time representing arts groups, preservationists, boards, committee and bloated city hall staffing who want to keep their jobs; and certainly lawyers who are given a wealth of billing hours to review every hair brain contract the council comes up with, rules, ordinance, zoning regulations and others that even if passed will never be enforced and certainly drawing up contracts for the wealth of loans/gifts made–of which they can’t collect on when they go into default–but provides more billable hours for the lawyers to fight.

    3. I agree that alder-men and

      I agree that alder-men and women deserve a raise to keep pace with inflation but the mayor probably deserves a pay cut. She receives expense reimbursement for almost everything she does, usually photo opts. She also adds very little to the process. Let Wally run the city meetings. I realize that this may require a change from our city form of government but it might be a change for more responsible and less expensive goverment.

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