A handful of top mayoral aides received raises despite Chicago's tough economic times, another look at the proposed 2012 budget reveals.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel in Wednesday's budget address told the city it needed to buckle down in the face of a $635.7 million deficit, pointing out Chicago can't afford inefficiencies or a system built on clout.
On Friday, Emanuel highlighted the importance of a higher water fee noted in the budget to rebuild the city's crumbling water infrastructure.
"A budget is about priorities," he said Wednesday, "and this budget is an opportunity to get it right."
But pay raises remain, the Chicago Sun-Times points out. Fire Commissioner Robert Hoff is up for a nine perfect raise from $185,652 a year to $202,728.
Other raises include a nearly 10 percent bump for Police Supt. Garry McCarthy’s chief of staff to $185,004, a nearly eight percent raise for Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein to $169,500 and a nine percent hike for the Fire Prevention Bureau's newly-appointed deputy commissioner to $178,740.
Communications Director Chris Mather told the Sun-Times that most of the raises are actually the amounts they were hired at.
Klein, for example, started May 16 at a higher salary rate that his predecessor. The salaries listed in the budget reflect that, Mather said.
In Emanuel's budget proposal, he avoided higher taxes but called for more police officers, shorter library hours, higher city stickers fees for larger vehicles and a "congestion fee" for downtown parking.
On Friday, Emanuel ran down the benefits of a higher water fee, namely to create 18,000 new jobs and update the system to where it needs to be.
“Investing in our infrastructure is critical to maintaining quality of life for people across the city by protecting our homes from flooding and our cars from sinkholes,” Emanuel said. “We must invest in our city to ensure we provide a solid foundation for our future.”
He wouldn't coment on giving some staff members pay hikes but said "a lot of people took cuts."