Your NPR news source
Brandon Johnson

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson appeared at a recent press conference on extending the Red Line. The mayor’s administration on Tuesday said it will not publicly disclose the elected officials who opted for the 2.24% pay increase until Johnson’s proposed budget is released next month.

Pat Nabong

Chicago elected officials get a pay bump. But the mayor’s administration won’t say yet who accepted it.

Mayor Brandon Johnson’s office will not reveal whether he accepted an automatic salary increase set to go into effect next year, and the public will also have to wait to see which alderpersons and other elected officials chose to accept or reject the annual increase.

The City’s Office of Budget and Management said in a statement Tuesday it will not publicly disclose the elected officials who opted for the 2.24% pay increase until Johnson’s proposed budget is released next month.

“Details of each elected official’s selection will be made available in the budget to be released by the Mayor to City Council in mid-October,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “Just like all items in the Mayor’s budget recommendation, City Council members have the opportunity to propose amendments for consideration by the full body, with salary and wage determinations made final once the budget is passed and appropriated.”

It’s a change in policy from past precedent, when the city has routinely released the names of which alderpersons have accepted or rejected the raise — which is tied to the rate of inflation. This year, elected officials will decide on a 2.24% raise, the Chicago Tribune first reported.

A spokesperson for the budget office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on what prompted the change in releasing the information.

City Council members and the mayor, city clerk and treasurer had a Friday deadline to inform the budget director whether they would be accepting the increase. Next year, the highest-paid alderpersons’ salaries are set to increase to roughly $145,970 should they choose to accept the pay pump.

When asked if Johnson is planning to change the automatic pay escalator for alderpersons and elected officials when he releases his proposed budget, a spokesman reiterated details will be available when the budget is released next month. The spokesman did not say whether Johnson accepted the raise. Johnson currently makes $216,210 and would receive a pay bump of a little over $4,800 if he accepts it.

A spokeswoman for City Clerk Anna Valencia said Friday the clerk plans on accepting the increase, which would boost her annual salary by a little over $3,600 to $164,628.

City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, who has paused her anticipated bid for Congress amid allegations she abused her office’s power, is set for the same increase. A spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment on whether she plans to take the pay bump.

Whether to accept the raise has set up a political conundrum for elected officials whose constituents are dealing with inflation and rising costs.

Last year, Valencia and Conyears-Ervin defended accepting 20.5% raises that former Mayor Lori Lightfoot included in her budget, noting their positions’ salaries had been stable since 2005. Lightfoot’s policy now allows the clerk, treasurer and mayor’s salaries to also be tied to the consumer price index — with a cap at 5%.

Meanwhile, alderpersons established a system to receive pay increases tied to the rate of inflation in 2006, bringing City Council members’ salaries from $98,125 that year to $142,776 for the highest-paid alderpersons in 2023. Last year, 17 alderpersons decided to reject nearly 10% raises, with several proposals floated to cap the increase and overall salary.

Alderpersons’ pay varies, with the 31 highest-paid members currently making $142,776 compared to Ald. Gilbert Villegas, 36th Ward, who is the lowest-paid at $115,560, according to the most recent publicly available city data.

Tessa Weinberg covers Chicago politics for WBEZ.

The Latest
County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is also trying to figure out which pandemic-funded programs to keep as the county spends down federal dollars.

In an attempt to meet people where they are, Chicago now has a licensed professional counselor at the Legler Regional Library.
The inspector general’s office urged Johnson to create a task force aimed at “preventing, identifying, and eliminating extremist and anti-government activities and associations within CPD.”
A greater share of Chicago area Republicans cast their ballots by mail in March compared to the 2022 primary, but they were still vastly outpaced by Democrats in using a voting system that has become increasingly popular.
As the 2024 presidential election approaches, officials, advocates and experts have expressed concern over misinformation and disinformation about candidates and elections in Chicago, Cook County and Illinois.