Evanston alders are scheduled to act at a special meeting Monday on four different pay increases for city workers.

The proposals include:

  • A $500 “thank you” bonus to all city full-time and part-time permanent workers, at a cost of $380,000.
  • A $2,500 retention bonus for non-union employees of the police department, at a cost of $50,000.
  • A 3% wage increase for all non-union city employees that’s expected to cost $375,000 a year
  • A one-time payment to members of the firefighters union totaling about $494,000.

The first three payments would come from the general fund. The payment to the firefighters would come from American Rescue Plan Act funds.

City Manager Luke Stowe says the bonus to all workers would “symbolize appreciation to the dedicated employees working diligently during these unprecedented times associated with the pandemic, labor shortage and inflation.

The bonus to non-union police employees follows a decision earlier this year to give a $4,000 retention bonus to members of the Fraternal Order of Police. The roughly 20 non-union employees at the police department include command staff above the rank of sergeant, analysts and other administrative staff.

Stowe says the 118 exempt employees of the city haven’t received salary adjustments since 2020, while all other employee groups did get pay hikes through collective bargaining agreements or existing city wage scales and policies.

He says firefighters gave up 2021 and 2022 pay increases in their contract based on the belief that the city was facing a severe financial crisis as a result of the pandemic.

As it turned out, the city’s financial results were much better than forecast, and Stowe says the firefighters are also eligible for premium pay under the ARPA program.

City officials say Evanston has experienced higher than usual departures of employees for jobs elsewhere and difficulty in recruiting new workers in recent months.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. I would rather the funds be used to make sure the pensions are properly funded.

    For instance, the fire pension is 46.4%, police 52.6% funded (as of January 1, 2021). With the stock market performance, inflation, etc. it is very likely the funding percentage has decreased.

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