Citizens who want to have a voice in what Evanston elected officials make for the next four years should get their applications in to the mayor’s office real soon now.

The City Council’s Rules Committee is scheduled tonight to authorize establishment of a compensation committee — a group that makes recommendations on what aldermen and other elected officials should make.

The last time the city went through this drill, the compensation committee recommended graduated raises spread over four years for the aldermen, but the aldermen voted to take the whole 20 percent pay hike right from the start.

The committee is scheduled to report its recommendations by July 23, and the aldermen will vote on the new pay schedule no later than Oct. 8.

Under state law the aldermen can’t raise their compensation during their term of office, but they can vote to boost pay for whoever holds the position after the next election.

Last time around four of the aldermen who voted for the pay hike were returned to the council by the voters and a fifth moved up from alderman to mayor.

Aldermen, who made $10,000 before the last election now make $12,000 for their part-time job and also qualify for city-paid health insurance at an additional cost of over $10,000 per official per year.

The pay for the mayor was raised from $17,000 to $19,000; for the township supervisor from $11,500 to $13,400 and for the township assessor from $6,000 to $8,000,

The smallest increase went to the only full-time elected official, the city clerk, whose pay was increased from $49,000 to $50,000.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. If the aldermen can decide to

    If the aldermen can decide to do whatever they want to do (overriding the work and recommendations of a committee), why should anyone bother spending time on a unpaid compensation committee? The recommendation should be binding. Else, there is zero accountability.

  2. That would be unlawful.

    Committees/Commissions are advisory in nature — the intent is study and issue and provide a recommendation to the City Council.  Since committee/commission members are unelected and therefore unaccountable to the electorate, by law their recommendations cannot be binding.  Since most City Council agenda items come up through a committee/commission, the City Council would simply be a rubberstamp body.

  3. Cut Aldermanic Health insurance along with their pay

    The council members are part time city employees,  almost all of them take the health insurance.

    Why it is a very good deal, prior to the last council, they were able to buy a Blue cross Blue shield PPO policy for their families for $35 a month valued at over $17,000.  When the last city manager left she decide to raise their rates and make them pay what other city employees paid about $170 a month.

    While on the surface it now looks fair, it still is not.  NO other part time employees get this deal, they do not get health insurance.  A special perk for public officials at a cost of $110,000 a year to us taxpayers.

    Council members are no different than our elected friends in state government who give themselves lavish pensions and other sweet deals the employees do not get,

    More citizens need to be aware of this issue, I have been the only citizen at council meetings to suggest their medical benifits be stopped.  

    The real compensation of council members is closer to $30,000 a year for a part time job,.

    1. Increase Aldermanic Pay

      Too many people are "Penny Wise, and Pound Foolish"

      I would rather increase Aldermanic pay and benefits assuming it would attract more qualified candidates.

      Technically, Alderman are part time, but what does that mean, how many hours do they work each week?

      Do the calculation and figure out at current compensation, what is the Dollars per hour the Alderman are being paid.

      We need responsible, committed Alderman who will make good decisions which are in the best long term interests of the community. It's not an easy job, especially when money is more limited and especially given the bad decisions by prior Alderman which have painted our City into a corner. Those former Alderman don't have to deal with these problems.

      It's easy to throw stones and complain, but more difficult to come up with solutions.



      1. Increase their pay?

        Tom –  How much would you increase their pay?   Lets increase the pay to $100,000 would better qualified people to run.   I doubt it.  Why? 

        The same group of people will continue to run. Many of them have backing of special interests and others political connected in this town.   Evanstonnow,s exposure of the money spent by outside groups in the recent school referundum tells it all.

        When the Mayor can spent thousand of dollars of her own money to run for office, I don't think money is her motivation.

        I think a better, idea is to put term limits on the Mayor and council of two terms, that will get more people to run.

        Take a look at the current group, it appears me only two of them hold down fill time jobs.  Out the two, only one of them, appears to know what he is doing.  

        These elected roles are not full time jobs, that is if you know what you are doing.

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