Evanston city workers on average don’t make as much as their counterparts in the City of Chicago, but do better than workers for Cook County and the State of Illinois.

The Chicago Sun-Times Saturday reported on the pay scales of Chicago, county and state employees, and Evanston Now has added data for City of Evanston workers to the comparison.

There is some variation in the data. The Evanston data reflects projected pay for this year, and excludes any unscheduled overtime. The figures for the other governments reflect last year’s pay and generally include overtime amounts.

Median pay was $87,091 for City of Chicago workers, $74,306 for City of Evanston workers, $68,884 for State of Illinois workers and $63,054 for Cook County workers.

In the City of Chicago, the highest paid worker last year was Aviation Director Ginger Evans, who made $400,000. In Evanston it’s City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz, who’s scheduled to make $212,084 this year.

Thirty-nine percent of City of Chicago employees made over $100,000 last year. The share of employees who topped that threshold was far smaller for the other government units — 13 percent for Evanston and the State of Illinois and 12 percent for Cook County.

Beyond department heads, those most likely to crack the $100,000 barrier in Evanston are supervisors in the fire and police departments.

Rank-and-file firefighters and police officers mostly make between $90,000 and $100,000.

That pattern, of comparatively high pay for police and firefighters, also was found in the Chicago data.

Workers in Evanston’s library and recreation departments tend to be the least-well paid, along with some civilian employees in the police department.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Is this just Salary or Total Compensation?

    Do the figures presented just represent salary or do the figures represent total compensation?

    The context for comparisons need to be understood and considered to be accurate else one will be comparing “apples to oranges.” For example, the article points out that Evanston’s figures don’t include overtime, while Chicago’s figures include overtime.

    The benefit packages for many employees can add 30 – 40% to the stated cash salary ; that’s significant and should be considered and understood.

    And in this comparison, does the City of Chicago include teachers? Because it would appear that the City of Evanston data does not include teachers in either D65 or D202.

    Median household income should also be provided in order to provide further context, as should other considerations.

    Data analysis is critically important in public policy decisions but people need to know and understand the composition, context and content of the data to minimize bias and misleading conclusions.

    1. Answers

      All the figures in the story exclude non-cash benefits … health insurance, pension contributions, etc.

      Overtime, for the years 2012-2014, added an average of $2.4 million a year to Evanston’s payroll costs. With projected base salary costs of $60 million for 2017, that would boost the total by about 4 percent.

      The benefits data is available for Evanston workers, but it is not included in the Sun-Times database for the other governments.

      Public school teachers are not included in any of the data sets.

      Median household income is probably not the relevant comparison — since these figures are for individual wage earners not households.

      You can find a variety of median income estimates for Evanstonians here. Perhaps the most relevant ones are those for full-time, year-around workers (since only about 8 percent of the Evanston city workers work part time). Those medians are $68,381 for males and $52,381 for females.

      — Bill

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