Aldermen Buy the Darndest Things

It's not easy being a dolt

Pity the poor alderman.

These people are paid a paltry $110,556 salary to do everything the mayor tells them to do, and they're supplemented by a measly $73,280 expense account.

Sure, that expense account alone is more than the typical Chicagoan makes, but aldermen have a tough job.

Taking care of mom, for example: Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) paid his mom nearly $20,000 out of his (taxpayer-funded) expense account to, you know, help out around the office.

"I have no problem helping my mother," Burnett told the Chicago Tribune. "If it weren't for her, I wouldn't be here. If I could get her Mayor Daley's job, I would get her Mayor Daley's job."

I never thought I'd hear myself typing this, but please don't.

Taking care of buddies:

Ald. George Cardenas (12th) paid $10,000 out of his (taxpayer-funded) expense account to hire a summer intern who just happened to be the son of former Streets and San Commissioner Al Sanchez. Sanchez is awaiting sentencing after being convicted for his role in rigging city hiring for the benefit of the pro-Daley Hispanic Democratic Organization - which helped elect Cardenas.

"Look at what he got paid," Cardenas told the Tribune. "It's a summer job ... give me a break."

You mean 10-large for three months shuffling paper for your dad's pal isn't extraordinarly generous?

Cardenas is also employing his niece as an intern this summer.

Taking care of the auto industry:

Our old friend, Ald. Berny Stone (50th) paid $16,000 out of his (taxpayer-funded) expense account to lease a Lexus 460 sedan. Oh, and $4,000 for downtown parking. I mean, who can afford the meters these days?

"You've got to get around," Stone said. "You've got to go downtown."

True. But could you at least pick up Ma Burnett and the Sanchez kid on the way?

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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