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Slight pay raise for aldermen in proposed budget

November 19, 2013|By Leonor Vivanco, @lvivanco | RedEye

Ten aldermen decided not to accept the 2014 proposed annual pay raise that is tied to the cost of living in Chicago.

In 2006, the salary for alderman was listed at $98,125. Every year after, the salary has been adjusted to reflect the rate of inflation. In eight years, the salary has increased 17 percent to $114,996 for aldermen, who are often called first by residents when there is a neighborhood problem. Salary increases for 2014 range from $83 to $1,995, according to information provided by the Office of Budget and Management that RedEye obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. 

It's up to the aldermen to choose whether or not to take the raise. Some have accepted it over the years while others have declined it. Some took pay cuts a few years ago. As a result, salaries for aldermen vary.

Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), whose ward includes River North and the Loop, will make the least at $105,939. The 2014 proposed budget counts 27 aldermen who are the highest paid at $114,996 a year. The remaining 22 aldermen fall somewhere in between.

Emanuel presented the proposed $8.7 billion budget last month. The City Council is expected to vote on the budget next week.

The aldermen who waived the slight pay bump for 2014 are Will Burns (4th), Marty Quinn (13th), Toni Foulkes (15th), Matthew O’Shea (19th), Deborah Mell (33rd), Nicholas Sposato (36th),  Timothy Cullerton (38th), Mary O’Connor (41st), Michele Smith (43rd), and Ameya Pawar (47th).

Since 2011, Burns, Quinn, O’Shea, Sposato, Cullerton, O’Connor, Smith and Pawar have stayed at the same salary of $108,086, which was the incoming salary for aldermen elected that year.

Aldermen are not the highest paid city employees. That distinction falls to Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, who earns $260,004 a year. He earns more than Mayor Emanuel, who receives $216,210. The salaries of Emanuel and McCarthy have stayed the same since they assumed their roles in 2011.

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