Chicago mayors would get annual pay raises each year under a proposal introduced by Mayor Lori Lightfoot that would tie yearly salary bumps to inflation but cap them at 5%.
The ordinance, introduced this week, would also allow the city clerk and treasurer to take pay increases each year. All three citywide elected officials could opt out for the following year if they choose, mirroring a process used by aldermen who are also eligible for annual raises.
Under a 2006 city ordinance, aldermen automatically get annual salary bumps tied to the consumer price index, unless they individually turn them down. But unlike Lightfoot’s latest proposal, the current system for aldermanic raises does not provide a cap for the inflation-tied raise, meaning the majority of City Council members are in line for a 9.6% pay increase next year because of recent surges in inflation.
Leading into City Council elections on Feb. 28, 15 aldermen turned down the 2023 pay raise, and multiple aldermen have introduced pending legislation to restrict their salaries.
The Chicago mayor’s salary is $216,210, a figure that hasn’t changed since 2006. The highest aldermanic pay will grow to about $142,780 next year.
City Clerk Anna Valencia and Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin already stand to see their salaries increase to $161,016 from $133,545 under Lightfoot’s proposed 2023 budget.
Whether Lightfoot’s proposal receives pushback remains to be seen, but politicians tend to avoid boosting their salaries during election years to avoid controversy. Former Orland Park mayor Dan McLaughlin lost his 2017 reelection campaign in the south suburb after moving to triple his salary, for instance.
At a news conference last month, Lightfoot said she had not “raised that issue.”
“I think there’s conversation around the, some of the other city wide elected officials. You’re aware that the mayor’s compensation hasn’t been changed in I think almost 20 years,” Lightfoot said. “But that’s not really what I’m focused on. I’m focused on making sure that we do the work of the people of the city every single day.”
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