The highest paid city workers in Chicago

June 7, 2011 10:00:00 PM PDT
As the City of Chicago wrestles with a $650 million budget deficit, one of its biggest expenses is the city payroll.

In this Intelligence Report: What city workers are paid. Their names, positions and salaries have just been posted on Chicago's website.

This is a fascinating look at how city tax dollars are used, from traffic cops to window washers, even the guys who boot illegally parked cars. You may be surprised to learn how much they are paid.

Late Wednesday afternoon, the city put up its complete database of all 34,219 municipal workers. Their pay totals $2.5 billion dollars.

The top spot is occupied by this Garry McCarthy, who was approved Wednesday as Chicago's police superintendent, with a salary of $260,000.

The man who appointed McCarthy, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, is paid less, $216,210 a year.

The third highest paid city official is Robert Hoff, fire department commissioner, at almost $203,000.

It is the fire department that has the most highly paid employees; 952 fire employees are paid more than $100,000 a year.

Even though the police department is almost three times as large as fire, far fewer police employees are paid six-figure salaries.

In all, there are nearly 2,400 city workers paid $100,000-plus per year.

Consider:

  • At Chicago's airports, the city pays eight window washers $43,000 a year.
  • There are 582 people directing traffic. Full-time traffic cops each make $50,000 or more per year. Hourly traffic cops are estimated to make $18,800.

And consider:

  • The mayor's assistant administrative secretary makes $162,500 a year, while the city inspector general -- in charge of weeding out corruption -- makes less.
  • There are 31 vehicle booters in the city each paid more than $62,000 a year.
  • Twenty-three caulkers are paid $91,500.
  • Fifty-two carpenters make almost $85,000 a year.
  • Finally, there are 93 student interns, some with pay listed at $36,400. Interns citywide total pay more than $1.38 million.

The salary figures appear to be base pay and do not include overtime, which could be significant in snowstorms, other natural disasters and handling unexpected sports championships.

This very overt effort at transparency by the Emanuel administration is not just intended to allow curious Chicagoans to see how much their city worker neighbors make; the payroll does show that Chicago is saving $61 million dollars a year by imposing unpaid furlough days on workers.


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