Another Reason for Referendum
If an independent arbitrator awards double-digit pay hikes to Chicago Police officers, there's a good chance the City Council will reject it, some aldermen said Tuesday.
During closed-door briefings on the status of police negotiations, aldermen vented their anger about the fact that public safety employees who account for 70 percent of city spending have been exempt from furlough days and other cost-cutting concessions.
Some aldermen also served notice that City Council ratification can no longer be taken for granted.
"The message given was, it is very likely the Council will reject any double-digit increases in pay for sworn personnel," said Ald. George Cardenas (12th).
- Some Chicago aldermen are suggesting a change in salary. There's growing support for a pay raise, but the general election may play a role in how much more money they get.
Chicago aldermen make $98,000 a year for jobs that are technically part-time. However, most council members said they work 24/7 and they deserve a raise. Under state law, they have to vote on salary issues before the election, which forces them to make controversial decisions now. Those decisions can be used against them by opponents come February.
Cost of living seems to be a fair request to most Chicagoans.
[...] The cost of living this year is around 4%. Last year was 5.7%. So it might actually average out at $5,000 over the next four years. That's harder to attack politically than the fixed amount. So we'll see how it plays out over the next few weeks.