A 56 percent majority of Chicago aldermen—many running for re-election in February—reportedly took individual salary raises of roughly $2,000 which take effect next year.
Twenty-eight of 50 city council members said yes to an annual cost-of-living raise, and those include mayoral candidate 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti, according to the Chicago Tribune. Some who declined a pay bump (and have other sources of income) did so to make a point.
"I haven't (taken a raise) because the city of Chicago has a structural deficit, we've had to find inefficiencies and ways of delivering services," 4th Ward Ald. William Burns told the Tribune. "The city had layoffs, and I just don't think it's appropriate, as I'm reducing other people's salaries or voting for budgets that trim spending, for me to give myself a raise."
Burns' statement was echoed by Ald. Brendan Reilly of the Loop-centric 42nd.
"My wife gives me a gentle ribbing about it, because she notes that I work incredibly long hours and seven days a week, but she also appreciates the symbolic importance of not accepting pay increases until the job is done," Reilly said.
Burns and Reilly have moonlighted as political consultants, work that provides alternative cash flows. The latter boasts city council's lowest salary: $105,939, which isn't that low at all, stretching above and beyond the minimum wage hike that Mayor Rahm Emanuel (capped at $216,210 per year) stands to push through ahead of February's municipal election.
Come 2015, the biggest salary—$117,333—will belong to 21 aldermen including the 39th's Margaret Laurino, a lifer who's been in office two decades.