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 OpenTheBooks.com 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.