After a number of false begins, Cook County’s 17 commissioners, board president and different elected officers will get important — and indefinite — wage bumps beneath a proposal that gained last approval by the county board Tuesday.
Commissioners voted 13-4 Tuesday to extend compensation for the elected officers by 10%, beginning with the brand new time period starting this December and with will increase of as much as 3% scheduled yearly after that. That approval got here regardless of objection from a civic group over what it says is an absence of transparency on perpetual pay will increase.
Those who stand to profit embody Cook County’s board president, sheriff, assessor, clerk, treasurer, circuit courtroom clerk in addition to all 17 board commissioners and three members of the Board of Review. The Cook County state’s lawyer and chief choose’s office, that are state posts, should not affected.
The no votes have been from Commissioners Frank Aguilar, D-Cicero; Sean Morrison, R-Palos Park; and Luis Arroyo Jr. and Dennis Deer, each Democrats from Chicago.
Prior to the vote, the laws’s chief sponsor instructed the Tribune that these elected officers — who haven’t seen any pay improve in twenty years — deserve higher pay after inflation spiked “astronomically” in these years.
“I’m a full-time commissioner and I had to pull my child out of private school because the cost keeps going up every year, but my salary stays the same,” Commissioner Stanley Moore, D-Chicago, mentioned in a telephone interview. “It’s unfair to people who want to do this job and commit full-time efforts to their community.”
Morrison mentioned he voted no as a result of he believes his constituents “overwhelmingly” are not looking for raises for presidency officers, however he’s open to reexamining the difficulty throughout occasions of much less financial hardship.
“It’s not the type of situation that I think we need to be in,” he instructed the Tribune after the vote. “We have inflation that’s up. People are paying $5 for gasoline. … I do not believe this is the time for it.”
The concept of elected officers getting their first raises since 2002 didn’t obtain pushback from Cynthia Schilsky, president of the Cook County League of Women Voters, however she mentioned she can’t help the laws due to a provision that permits future pay raises with no finish date. The Chicago-based Civic Federation’s president Lawrence Msall has backed that position.
“We elect these people to serve in their office, and they should be required to be transparent about what they’re saying their salaries are,” Schilsky instructed the Tribune. “It would be much better, to the point, that they vote on it rather than just have it continue forever.”
Starting in 2023, the elected officers will routinely get both a 3% or inflation-tied wage bump every year, whichever is smaller, and the raises “shall continue until the Cook County Board of Commissioners votes to repeal or amend the annual increase,” based on the laws’s textual content.
Rumblings over the potential granting of raises to Cook County officers first appeared in March, when Commissioner Larry Suffredin, D-Evanston, was set to introduce an ordinance modification bumping up salaries for his fellow elected authorities heads by 7.05%. But Suffredin, who will not be looking for reelection this year so won’t obtain the increase, mentioned couldn’t get a majority of commissioners to signal on because of what he believed have been issues partly fueled by potential detrimental perceptions of granting themselves raises throughout an election year.
All 17 county board seats are up for grabs through the November election, however the major on June 28 may very well be the larger think about many races.
Moore downplayed the issues over campaign-trail optics however contended the prime reservation was that “anytime you use the word increase, people are fearful that elected officials are making all this money.”
“The truth of the matter is that we have families and children and people to take care of just like everybody else,” Moore mentioned.
Days earlier than he was set to debut the increase proposal, Suffredin held off, to the frustration of a few of his colleagues who’re looking for one other time period. That’s when Moore revived the hassle by spearheading a brand new plan to bump salaries for elected county officers by 10%.
But in May, when the newest laws was slated for a vote, commissioners once more delayed taking over the proposal till this week due to the League of Women Voters’ criticism. Suffredin mentioned he finally dedicated to introducing a brand new ordinance subsequent month that may name for one more pay research by December 2024 and a vote by the tip of March 2025 for the next time period’s increase schedule.
Commissioners should first approve the raises earlier than a vote on Suffredin’s future laws as a result of there may be an early June deadline of approving compensation changes six months earlier than the brand new time period that begins in December, he mentioned.
Schilsky mentioned she welcomes Suffredin’s concept however “our position is unchanged” that the raises permitted Tuesday ought to get a time restrict. To that, Moore countered that county workers get an annual cost-of-living improve, so elected officers deserve the identical.
“I love my job and in order for me to keep it and to concentrate on it, I have to make a decent salary,” Moore mentioned. “I just felt that it was the right thing to do.”
Under the plan, the board president’s annual wage will likely be bumped to $187,000 from $170,000, whereas commissioners will see a hike to $93,500 from $85,000 a year and the board’s finance chair wage will improve to $99,000 from $90,000.
The annual wage for the assessor will likely be hiked to $137,500 from $125,000, the sheriff’s pay will improve to $176,000 from $160,000, and the salaries for clerk and treasurer would improve to $115,500 from $105,000. Members of the board of evaluation would see a rise to $110,000 from $100,000, and the circuit clerk’s wage will go to $115,00 from $105,000, although the final publish won’t see that new compensation till December 2024 as a result of it falls beneath a special election cycle.