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Final vote set on 23 percent aldermanic pay hike

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Evanston aldermen are scheduled to take final action tonight on a proposal to give members of the next City Council a 23.1 percent cash pay hike and continue the city's unusually-generous practice of providing health insurance benfits for the part-time elected officials.

When the proposal was introduced two weeks ago, the only objection to it came from Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, who said the health coverage deal is unfair to aldermen who are single — because the nearly-free health coverage is far more valuable to aldermen who have families.

Including both cash pay and the health coverage, total aldermanic compensation now ranges from less than $15,000 to well over $30,000 a year.

The new pay scale was recommended by a four-member compensation committee of local residents appointed by the mayor. The committee considered a range of options, from doubling the cash compensation of aldermen to holding them to an increase matching the growth in the consumer price index.

It also considered a plan to give aldermen more cash and let them buy into the city's health coverage, as Rainey proposed, but rejected it.

Aldermanic pay in Evanston roughly tracked the CPI from the late 1970s to the end of the last century, but has risen much faster than inflation since then.

Most other Chicago metro area suburbs checked by city staff in doing research on the issue do not provide health benefits for their part-time elected officials. The research also showed that Evanston is at the high end of the range in the amount of cash pay it offers aldermen.

Under state law each City Council toward the end of its four-year term must set the compensation for aldermen who will be chosen in the upcoming election.

Related stories

Rainey urges revamping aldermanic pay (6/28/16)

Council to vote on 23 percent pay hike for aldermen (6/24/16)

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

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