Most members of the city’s Compensation Committee indicated at a meeting today that they’re prepared to consider doubling the salaries of Evanston’s aldermen.
The four-member citizen committee appointed by the mayor today reviewed salary data from other communities, which indicates that Evanston’s aldermen already earn more than twice the average pay in eight other mid-size metro area communities for which city staff was able to find pay data.
Committee Chair Alvin Telser said he guesses that aldermen spend 30 to 40 percent of their time doing aldermanic work.
He speculated that a typical alderman might earn $80,000 to $100,000 a year as an annual income, so the current aldermanic pay of $12,735 a year “would be only about 10 percent of their income.”
“That’s low by a factor of two to three for the work they’re doing,” Telser said.
Member Robin Simmons said aldermen “spend an extreme amount of hours” on the job. I think we have a unique set of issues in Evanston, Simmons added, asking “do these other cities have homicides, gang problems, drug problems, homelessness issues and economic imbalances?”
Committee member Sue Calder said raising aldermanic pay to $20,000 would only cost the city about $49,000 and doubling it to $25,000 would only cost $108,000. “Given the size of our budget, that’s not a big deal,” Calder added.
Only committee member Todd Kihm raised doubts about the need for an increase, Kihm, one of nearly a dozen people who applied for appointment to the recent 7th Ward aldermanic vacancy, said, “There are plenty of people lining up for the current program. I don’t want to spend the city’s money just because we think aldermen are overworked.”
“A lot of people are willing to put in the time required for this amount of money,” he added.
The committee has scheduled its next meeting for 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 19, at the Civic Center.
The committee will makes a recommendation to the City Council which has to set the pay scale by this October for the aldermen, mayor and city clerk who will be elected next April.
If aldermanic pay were roughly doubled to $25,000, aldermen would be making 60 percent of the city per capita income of $41,340 for their part-time job.
Alderman and others in the photo above: Judy Fiske, 1st Ward; Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward; Melissa Wynne, 3rd Ward; Donald Wilson, 4th Ward and Delores Holmes, 5th Ward; Judge Lionel Jean-Baptiste, a former alderman who swore in the mayor, city clerk and township supervisor; Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, Township Supervisor Gary Gaspard, Mark Tendam, 6th Ward; Jane Grover, 7th Ward; Ann Rainey, 8th Ward and Coleen Burrus, 9th Ward; and City Clerk Rodney Greene.
Panel to consider pay hikes for aldermen (3/31/16)
Some aldermen claim to be overworked (9/11/12)
Aldermen cost more in Evanston (7/19/12)
Alderman calls pay critics ‘hateful’ (9/29/08)