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Who Makes What

How much money does Barack Obama make as a U.S. senator? Find out salary information about him and others in various fields.

(page 1 of 7)

From advertising to zookeeping, from opera to Oprah, we crunched the numbers on pay at more than 190 jobs around town. What’s in your wallet?

Photography by Steven E. Gross

A stenographer who makes more than Barack Obama. A doctor who makes less than a dog walker. And who knew personal shoppers could make more than twice as much as first-year public defenders?

Our survey of annual salaries in Chicago gave us a few surprises-and reams of interesting conversations. To compile our report, we scoured public records and published sources; interviewed human resources personnel, union leaders, and industry experts; and simply asked people about their pay. (When one of our numbers here comes from another published source, we’ve cited the source. Data from public records and interviews are unmarked.) For some workers we annualized income by multiplying their hourly wage by the number of hours they said they worked (if they didn’t say, we assumed 52 40-hour weeks). Many of the struggling artists, athletes, and do-gooders on our list have other jobs that pay the rent. We include income only for the job listed for 2005, unless otherwise noted. Finally, many of these jobs have perks and benefits that we did not quantify, such as getting health insurance, use of the Governor’s Mansion, or a chance to kiss Jennifer Aniston. We only counted the cash (except in the case of Tuna the cat).

(Source: Forbes)
$225 million
Vince Vaughn
($12 million for The Break Up, $3 million for Wedding Crashers)
$15 million
Steve Carell
Second City alum
(for The 40-Year-Old Virgin)


Peter Oprisko
Sinatra-style singer
approx. $175,000
Stephen Sodaro
Magician and psychic entertainer
Cassandra Bissell
Stage actress, Short Shakespeare! ‘Macbeth’
Steppenwolf Theatre Company
From $350/week (for smaller stages) to $800/week (for larger stages)
Highest-paid athletes
1) Jim Thome
White Sox designated hitter/first baseman
$14.167 million
2) Tim Thomas
Bulls forward
$13.975 million
3) Paul Konerko
White Sox first baseman
$12 million
4) Javier Vazquez
White Sox pitcher
$11.5 million
5) Kerry Wood
Cubs pitcher
$11 million
6) Aramis Ramirez
Cubs third baseman
$10.5 million
7) Tyson Chandler
Bulls center
$9 million
8) Freddy García
White Sox pitcher
$9 million
9) Greg Maddux
Cubs pitcher     
$9 million
10) Derrek Lee
Cubs first baseman           
$8.667 million

Paid to Play

Ozzie Guillen
Manager, world champion White Sox
$2 million
Dusty Baker
Manager, Cubs
$3.75 million
Nikolai Khabibulin
Goalie and highest-paid member of the Chicago Blackhawks
$6.75 million
Craig Anderson
Backup goalie, Chicago Blackhawks
Jerry Azumah,
Cornerback and highest-paid member of the Chicago Bears
$3 million
(base salary; does not include bonus)
Brian Urlacher
Middle linebacker, Chicago Bears
$1.25 million
(base salary; does not include bonus)
Kane County Cougar
First season
$1,100/month, maximum
Chicago Bulls
$40 plus two tickets per game; $90/hour for personal appearances


Juanna Rumble
Blocker, Windy City Rollers
Lifeguard supervisor
Chicago Park District
(based on $15/hour)
Price of Success

Combined 2005 salaries of Cubs starting pitchers
(Kerry Wood, Greg Maddux, Mark Prior, Carlos Zambrano, Glendon Rusch)

$27.8 million
Price per win by starters:
Combined 2005 salaries of White Sox starting pitchers
(Mark Buehrle, Jon Garland, Freddy Garcia, Orlando Hernandez, Jose Contreras)
$29.4 million
Price per win by starters:
Media figures
Diann Burns
News anchor, CBS 2
(Source: Chicago Tribune)
$2 million
Mancow Muller
Radio host, WKQX
(Source: Chicago Sun-Times)
$2 million
Ira Glass
Executive producer/host of This American Life, WBEZ
(2004 salary)
Phil Ponce
Host of Chicago Tonight, WTTW
(2004 salary)
Advertising executive
Creative accounting
Sir Andrew Davis
Principal conductor/music director
Lyric Opera of Chicago
Chorus member
Lyric Opera of Chicago
James Cuno
President and Eloise W. Martin Director, Art Institute of Chicago
Deborah Card
President, Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association
Samuel Magad
Concertmaster, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Robert Chen
Co-concertmaster, Chicago Symphony Orchestra
CSO union musician
Elite Chicago
$75,000 to $150,000
Hair/makeup artist
Elite Chicago
Kevin Eichorst
Portrait photographer

Kevin Stein
Poet laureate of Illinois

(sum he spent to promote Poetry Now, a project to attract audiences for poetry )

Food and drink

Executive chef
Italian restaurant in the Loop
Daniel Speer
Chef, Morseland
Kate Wimbiscus
Barista, Starbucks, Michigan Avenue and Huron Street
(based on $7.50/hour, $1/hour in tips)
Al Mroz
Bartender, Woodlawn Tap
(based on $6/hour plus $60 to $90/night in tips)
Robert Adams Jr. and Robert Adams Sr.
Co-owners, Honey 1 BBQ
$20,000 (each)
Abby Witt
Cocktail waitress, Mad Jack’s  
(based on $100 to $130/night, one night/week)
Yana Dubinsky
Cocktail waitress, Rockit Bar & Grill      
(based on $3.80/hour, $200 to $300/night in tips, three nights a week)
John Wills
Dairy Queen cashier
(based on $6.50/hour, 25 hours/week)


Sharone Mitchell
Sales consultant, Judge & Dolph, liquor distributors
Style around town

Brian Sutcliffe
Stylist, Siren Salon, North Side

Joe Giacobbe
Barber, University Barber, South Side
(estimate based on range)
Edith Slawniak
Aesthetician, Renu Day Spa, North Shore

Living with the law


Christopher Esbrook
Second-year associate, Kirkland & Ellis
Dan Webb
Überlawyer, Winston & Strawn(Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
$1 million
Chris Nathan
First-year public defender, Cook County
Mara Georges
Corporation counsel, City of Chicago
Entry-level legal secretary
Gardner, Carton & Douglas
Patrick Fitzgerald
U.S. attorney, Northern District of Illinois
Richard Posner
Federal judge, Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
(does not include income from writing or from teaching at the University of Chicago Law School)
Rebecca Pallmeyer
Federal judge, Northern District of Illinois

The skin trade

Exotic dancer
Admiral Theatre Gentlemen’s Club
$300 to $1,000 /night
Cara Zavaleta
Miss November 2004, Playboy
(for Playmate of the Month pictorial)
Christie Hefner
CEO, Playboy
$1.44 million
(Source: Chicago Sun-Times)

Tough guys

Lance Corporal James Craven
U.S. Marine Corps
$31,000 plus $1,750 hazard pay for tour of duty in Iraq
Gold Coast bar
(based on $10 to $13/hour plus up to $100 in tips/night)

Crime doesn’t pay

Street-Level Drug dealer
(after gang dues; source: Freakonomics)

Animal people

Stuart D. Strahl
President and CEO, Brookfield Zoo
Jennifer Hunt
Lead zookeeper, Habitat Africa! (Savanna), Regenstein Wolf Woods, Brookfield Zoo
Ted A. Beattie
President and CEO, Shedd Aquarium         
North Side clinic
$50,000 to $75,000
Steven Heard
Moo & Oink poultry department
(based on $7/hour, 26 to 30 hours/week)
Feline actress (fee: $800 a day), Amazing Animals by Samantha
(value of 104 cans of tuna, 52 cans of salmon, 26 containers of Pounce cat treats, 12 catnip mice, 6 feather wands, and health insurance)

Soul people

Funeral director
First year of licensure
Bill Hybels
Senior pastor, Willow Creek Community Church
Susan B. W. Johnson
Senior minister, Hyde Park Union Church
Alan Taylor
Minister, Unity Temple, Oak Park
Archdiocese of Chicago
(plus room, board, meals, health insurance, car insurance)
Hearse driver
Four years’ experience

Stock options

Brad Aubuchon
Stockbroker, NYTC LLC
$1.13 million
Chicago Public Library

Jobs that still make house calls

Swimming pool salesman
American Sales
Pizza deliveryman
Aurelio’s Pizza
(based on $500 to $570/week)
James Casara
(based on $20/hour)

Power players

Local 134, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
(based on $35.15/hour)
John Carson
Project consultant, LTK Engineering Services
John W. Rowe
CEO, Exelon Corp.
$11.5 million
(Source: Forbes)

Jobs you can’t miss

Chicago Stockyard Kilty Band
$150/visit; $200/visit on St. Patrick’s Day or New Year’s Eve
Jun Cameron
Drummer, Michigan Avenue
$25 to $150/day
Errol Ragsdale
Street solicitor, Save the Children
$8/hour plus commission
Vehicle booter
City of Chicago Department of Revenue
(based on $25.35/hour)


Bonnie Muran
First-year third grade public school teacher, Grayslake
James L. Madara
Dean of the biological sciences and vice president for medical affairs, University of Chicago
Third-year teacher at a North Side Catholic school
Keith Majeske
12th-year English teacher, Morgan Park High School
Henry S. Bienen
President, Northwestern University
Don Randel
President, University of Chicago
Randy Walker
Football coach, Northwestern University
Dipak C. Jain
Dean, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
Kerensa Peterson
Adjunct professor, City Colleges of Chicago


Antonio Micheletti
Private Italian tutor
(based on $30/hour, 9 hrs/week)
Teaching assistant
Northwestern University
(teaching fellowship)
Brian Gillis
Ph.D candidate in political science, University of Chicago
($24,000 fellowship, plus $6,000 for admissions test prep tutoring for The Princeton Review)
Self-employed chess teacher

A butcher, a baker, a candle-stick maker

Stefan Zajczenko
Butcher, Dorfler’s Meat Market
Gracie Gamero
Baker, Medici
Brad ZasAda
Candlestick maker, Melting Point
(based on $9/hour)

Union workers

Local 130, Chicago Journeymen Plumbers
(based on $38.40/hour)
Local 181, Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters
(based on $35.32/hour)
Local 21, United Order of American Bricklayers and Stone Masons
(based on $33.25/hour)

Nose jobs

Freelance perfumer
Major department store
Theresa Montana
Florist, City Scents
Dana Hammett
Florist’s employee, Cattails
(based on $9/hour)
Garbage truck driver
Waste Management
$60,000 to $80,000
Sewer worker
Chicago Department of Water Management
(based on $30.15/hour)
Bath & Body Works
(based on $8/hour)
Leonel Lopez
Cashier, Dunkin Donuts
(based on $6.75/hour)

Old economy

Seth Zurer
Travel agent, Select Italy
Riley Johnson
Shoe shiner, Cell Block
(based on $5/hour, one 4-hour shift/week, $30/night in tips)


Tina Alfaro
Stenographer, Victoria Court Reporting
Cook County state’s attorney’s office
Neil Massey
Sword maker, Rogue Steel
$30,000 to $35,000
Kevin Statz
Kelley Rutherford
Personal companion
Steve Kazmier
Typewriter repairman, Independence Business Machines

New economy

Software engineer
Online travel Web site
Jessa Crispin
E-zine editor (Bookslut.com)/freelance writer
Roy Shay
Party DJ
(based on $200 to $800/month)
Information technology worker
Entry level

People behind the people

Executive assistant
Five years’ experience, Lakeshore Staffing
$80,000 to $100,000
Executive assistant to CEO
Lakeshore Staffing
Lakeshore Staffing
$24,000 to $43,000
Kristin Thompson
Teacher, Gymboree Play & Music


Katherine Raz
Dog walker, Danny’s Dog Walkers
(based on $400 to $600/week)
Personal shopper
Major department store
Personal trainer
Oak Brook Park District
$18 to $25/hour
Aerobics instructor
Oak Brook Park District
(based on $28/class, 8 classes/week)
Bridget Walsh Sebek
18-year-old babysitter

Caring a lot

Cassandra Firkins
Foster care case manager supervisor, Little City Foundation
Registered Nurse
General practitioner’s office
Policy analyst
Public health nonprofit
Private specialty practice, four to five years’ experience
Dr. Mark Macumber
Family physician and founder of Patients First, a practice dedicated to affordable health care
Kathleen Belan
Psychotherapist, Challenge Healthcare Corp.
Senior policy analyst
Public health nonprofit
Office manager

Mayoral suite

Richard M. Daley
Mayor, Chicago
Adrienne Hiegel
Assistant to the mayor, Chicago
Frank Van Buer
Mayor, DeKalb
Joyce Stupegia
Village president, Villa Park

Our taxes at work

Richard Mell
33rd Ward alderman, Chicago
Rod Blagojevich
Governor of Illinois and Mell’s son-in-law
Judy Baar Topinka
State treasurer of Illinois and gubernatorial candidate

Michael Madigan
Illinois legislator, 22nd District, Speaker of the House

Lisa Madigan
Illinois attorney general and daughter of the Speaker

John H. Stroger Jr.
President, Cook County Board of Commissioners

Forrest Claypool
Cook County commissioner
Patrick Quinn
Lieutenant governor of Illinois

Jan Schakowsky
U.S. representative, 9th District of Illinois

Barack Obama
U.S. senator from Illinois
Dennis Hastert
U.S. representative, 14th District of Illinois, Speaker of the House

Donald Rumsfeld
U.S. secretary of defense

Emil Jones Jr.
Illinois senator, senate president
Frank Watson
Illinois senator, senate minority leader

Tom Cross
Illinois representative, House minority leader

Nancy Majeske
Postal clerk
James Laski
Former city clerk; resigned in February after indictment

Cortez Trotter
Chicago fire commissioner

First year, Chicago
Philip Cline
Chicago police superintendent

Police officer
First year, Chicago

Police sergeant
(median salary)
Paul Volpe
Budget director, City of Chicago

Dorothy Eng
Executive director, Board of Ethics, City of Chicago

Traffic signal repairman
Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation
Library page
Chicago Public Library
(based on $8/hour)
Hydrant inspector
Department of Water Management, Chicago

Top dollars
(pay for fiscal 2004; source: Forbes)

Glenn F. Tilton
CEO, UAL Corporation
$1.2 million
Alan J. Lacy
CEO, Sears Holdings
$1.5 million
James A. Bell
CEO, The Boeing Company
$1.6 million
Miles D. White
CEO, Abbott Laboratories
$4.4 million
Edward J. Zander
CEO, Motorola
$6.5 million
Edward M. Liddy
CEO, Allstate
$26.7 million
W. James Farrell
CEO, Illinois Tool Works
$32.6 million



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