Forbes: Mayor Rahm Emanuel Showers City Employees With $481 Million in Overtime, Extra Pay, Cash Benefits 61_rahm_emanuel

December 7, 2018 08:30 AM



Adam Andrzejewski, Contributor

As a freshly minted mayor in 2011, Rahm Emanuel promised to scrub waste and inefficiencies.
"I will order a forensic audit of city spending," Emanuel pledged, but he never followed through. Instead, last year, the mayor showered his city workforce with nearly a half a billion dollars in extra pay, perks, overtime, and other benefits beyond their regular salaries.
Newly captured data posted by our auditors at shows 14,820 city workers earned at least $100,000 last year. Over $481 million in supplementary pay (mostly overtime) boosted these incomes – nearly 3,000 city employees pocketed at least $40,000 each.
The number of six-figure city workers rose by 40% in just one year, up from 10,600 in 2016. In total, these fifteen thousand high earners cost taxpayers $1.9 billion annually. Today, Chicago has nearly twice as many six-figure public employees than the entire state government of Illinois.
Review the full list of Chicago city employees here. The definition of ‘supplementary pay’ includes overtime, bonus, settlements, fitness pay, uniform allowance, continuing education, retro pay, comp-time, administrative pay, assignment pay, furlough pay, duty pay, etc.
Here are some highlights gleaned from our open records request of 2017 city payroll:
  • $481 million in supplementary pay flowed to employees at the police department ($287 million), fire department ($123 million), and from a myriad of other city agencies ($72 million).
  • Ginger Evans, commissioner of aviation, is the most highly compensated Chicago employee for the second straight year, receiving the only bonus in the system. She made $400,000, including a $300,000 salary plus a $100,000 bonus. Emanuel picked Evans to replace Rosemarie Andolino who made $187,000 with no bonus.
  • More than 750 employees at the Water Management Department received more than $100,000 costing taxpayers $91 million, including plumbers ($160,419), machinists ($156,319), construction laborers ($129,602), painters ($154,914); and sewer brick layers ($102,205).
  • At Streets and Sanitation, 149 employees made more than $100,000. There were motor truck drivers’ receiving up to $117,334, auto pound supervisors making $108,208, and tree trimmers bringing in $107,806.
Chicago Police Department (CPD)
While out-manned on Chicago’s crime-ridden streets, Emanuel’s promise to hire another 1,000 officers has taken too long, and current officers are overworked. Trying to stem the violence, CPD paid out $287 million in supplementary pay on its $1.4 billion payroll. Thanks to the expensive overtime tabs, there were 7,700 CPD employees making six-figure incomes. Without supplemental pay, the number would fall to 2,097.
  • In total, 85 CPD employees made more than $100,000 in supplementary pay each while nearly 2,000 pocketed more than $40,000.
  • Lieutenant John Dowd made $224,404 in supplementary pay (that’s nearly three times his regular earnings) boosting his total pay to $300,657. Edward Heerdt, a police officer assigned as a detective, added $184,132 in supplementary pay to his $100,938 regular earnings – out earning Superintendent Eddie Johnson ($260,004).
  • 1,080 police officers assigned as detectives made $5,000 to $184,132 in supplementary pay trying to solve the city’s hundreds of homicides and thousands of shootings. Unfortunately, 83 percent of Chicago’s murders went unsolved last year – an all-time high since 1990.
Review the full list of CPD salaries here.
Even the police emergency call center is a fiscal mess. Police dispatchers were able to double their salary using supplementary pay. For example, Ramona Perkins made $218,833 in gross pay ($135,842 in supplementary pay); Amy Lovell received $183,307 in gross pay ($101,847 in supplementary pay); and Lorra Turner made $173,877 in gross pay ($95,760 in supplementary pay). Overall, 189 police dispatchers collected more than $20,000 in supplementary pay each.
Review the full list of Office of Emergency Communications salaries here.
Chicago Fire Department (CFD)
A similar story of resource mismanagement is playing out at CFD with $122 million in supplementary pay. With this amount, the city could hire 1,381 new intensive-care paramedics.
  • In total, 92 employees out-earned the then-Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago ($204,228) because of the lucrative supplementary payments.
  • The department’s top earner was Jeffrey Horan, a deputy district chief, at $275,673 in gross pay with $119,313 in supplementary pay.
  • Cleveland Gilmore, a fire engineer in the EMT division, received the most supplementary pay in the department, tacking $141,113 in supplementary pay on top of his $97,922 regular earnings.
  • Thirty-nine ambulance commanders made between $150,000 and $185,263. Sixty-eight paramedics made more than $50,000 in supplementary pay each.
Review the full list of CFD salaries here.
Other Chicago Agencies
Additionally, $72 million in supplementary pay flowed to city employees outside of the police and fire departments. Here are some highlights from just two agencies:
Water Management ($20.2 million in overtime/supplementary pay): The department’s highest earner was a filtration engineer, Clarence Wisnar, who made $344,045 including $228,845 in supplementary pay. This was the second largest paycheck on the city payroll. Further, Ivy Anderson, an assistant chief operating engineer, made $120,216 in supplementary pay on top of his $110,917 salary. Overall, 61 employees at Water Management made more than $50,000 in supplementary pay alone.
Review the complete list of agency incomes here.
Streets and Sanitation ($9.8 million in overtime/supplementary pay): At Streets and Sanitation, 16 employees made more than $30,000 in supplementary pay alone, including painters ($40,028); motor truck drivers ($38,336); tree trimmers ($30,186); and a forestry supervisor ($32,697). The highest paid employee was Department Commissioner John Tully Jr. who brought in $153,935.
Review the complete list of agency incomes here.
Is there a new day in Chicago’s future?
Recently, 21 candidates turned in petitions in a quest to replace Rahm Emanuel as mayor. Yet, all of these candidates are silent on their plan to manage the city. Yet, it’s the No. 1 issue affecting the delivery of every city service: public safety, police and fire service, education, welfare, housing, and the soft-social safety net. Chicagoans should demand real answers.
Labor leaders expect the $482 million in extra cash compensation to keep flowing. No matter who is mayor.
Meanwhile, residents keep fleeing the city like the city is on fire.
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