Aldermen Don Wilson (4th Ward) and Mark Tendam (6th Ward) were the only members of the city council to oppose a 2 percent pay raise for Evanston’s elected officials, which the council approved Monday night.
Voting on a series of ordinances, every year over the next four years for aldermen, the mayor, the city clerk, the township supervisor and the township assessor. All seats are up for election in April 2013; the raise will go into effect on May 1.
A compensation committee, appointed by the mayor, had recommended that the city council pass the 2 percent pay raise for all elected officials at a meeting July 25.
Wilson explained that he opposed the pay raise for council members on principal.
“I’m certainly not saying we don’t deserve the increase, but just in the context, I don’t think a single person up here does this for the money,” he said.
But Ald. Ann Rainey (8th Ward) shared a different opinion.
“Just to clarify for Ald. Wilson, I probably would not be able to do this if it weren’t for the pay, because I’d have to get a part time job,” she said.
Aldermen voted 7-2 to approve the 2 percent pay raise without further discussion, with Wilson and Tendam voting no.
Currently, aldermen are eligible for a salary of $12,000, plus medical benefits. The ordinances will increase that sum to $12,990 by 2016.
Members of the council voted next on a raise for the city clerk, whose salary is $50,000. The new ordinance would increase it to $54,120 in 2016.
“With the economy as it is today—I don’t do it for the money either—I think I deserve a raise but I don’t think I’m going to take it at this time,” said City Clerk Rodney Greene.
After council members reminded him that they were voting on the salary for the next city clerk, not necessarily Greene, he changed his mind and said he did, indeed recommend the pay raise. Council members voted unanimously to increase the city clerk’s salary.
Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl expressed similar sentiments to Greene. The mayor is eligible for a salary of $19,000, plus benefits; that would increase to $20,566 by 2016.
“I think I’m well enough compensated and don’t do it for the money,” she said. “But I may not be the mayor and maybe the 2 percent will encourage someone else to run, I don’t know.”
“You can vote any way you want,” she added.
Members of the council voted unanimously to increase the pay for the mayor. They voted to approve pay raises for the township assessor and the township supervisor as part of a consent agenda, without discussion.