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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 7 of 7)


Some people rake it in. Others eke by. And lots of people fall somewhere in between. Presenting a peek inside the paychecks of more than 250 Chicagoans, from athlete to Zen Buddhist priest, exterminator to lifesaver, fat cat to publicity hound. And, of course: Oprah
Edited by Jennifer Wehunt


Ask someone about his job, and you’re likely to get an earful. But ask him about his salary, and he’ll probably clam up faster than Jeremy Piven sidestepping questions about his recent flap with his pal John Cusack. (Piven wouldn’t tell us what he makes, either.) Still, we did find plenty of other Chicagoans willing to fess up when we asked them about their pay.

Among our findings were some eyebrow-raising couplings: A West Town bartender made more dough than an up-and-coming Bucktown restaurant owner. One hairdresser came up significantly short compared with a local dog groomer. The former head of the Greater Chicago Food Deposi-tory edged out Mayor Daley. And apparently the glass ceiling transcends technicalities: a well-known female impersonator earned way less than a male adult-film actor. Then there was the completely predictable: once again, no one raked in more than Oprah.

In assembling this report, we conducted personal interviews, tracked down public records, and pored over published articles (we cite the articles). Some sources requested anonymity, but every entry in this survey denotes an actual person, and all figures represent 2006 pay unless otherwise noted. For those who keep nontraditional work schedules, such as a freelance puppet builder and a romance novelist, we asked for explanations of how they calculate their income. And some on this list who eke out a pittance-think musicians and artists-may have other ways of making ends meet beyond what we include. Others may not.

Oh, and though we were snubbed by Piven, we did turn up his mother’s pay stub. Find it, and the wages of more than 250 other Chicagoans and suburbanites, in our salary survey.


Melissa Turner
Fashion czar (director of fashion arts and events), Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs


Joseph Mapes
Sales manager, Balani Custom Clothiers

plus commission

Kalinda Piper
Salesclerk, Fashion Tomato

(25 to 30 hours a week)

Mark Valenti
Concert pianist


Bryan Y. Schulz
Freelance music teacher, Bryan Y. Schulz Studios

(15 hours per week)

Nick Wright
Musician/record label owner, Mission Label


Jay Congdon
Event DJ/president, Fourth Estate Audio


Ed Gadberry
Trombonist/drummer/vocalist/keyboardist with Dime A Dozen, a blues-rock cover band


Vicente Perez
Car-alarm installer/owner, SouthSide Vic’s Kustoms

Approx.  $85,000

Daniel J. Schmidt
CEO, WTTW Channel 11


Torey Malatia
President and general manager, WBEZ 91.5 FM/Chicago Public Radio


Reporter with three years’ employment
Chicago Sun-Times


Art director
Chicago Free Press


Section editor
Red Eye


Fouzia Najar
Resource development coordinator, Community TV Network


Average vendor, Streetwise
(sells between 40 and 50 papers a week)

Approx. $1,521

Super seller, Streetwise
(sells between 200 and 400 papers a week)

Approx. $10,140

Bert Gieseman
Self-employed entertainment lawyer


Larry Ciupik
Astronomer, Adler Planetarium

THE AIR UP THERE (Radio personalities who make more than $1 million; source: Robert Feder, Chicago Sun-Times)

Spike O’Dell
Morning host, WGN 720 AM


Ed Volkman  (“Eddie")
Morning host, WBBM 96.3 FM


Joe Bohannon (“JoBo")
Morning host, WBBM 96.3 FM


Jonathon Brandmeier (“Johnny B.")
Morning host, WLUP 97.9 FM


Eric Ferguson
Morning host, WTMX 101.9 FM


Mike North
Morning host, WSCR 670 AM


Roe Conn
Afternoon host, WLS 890 AM


Steve Dahl
Afternoon host, WCKG 105.9 FM


Upscale Streeterville restaurant


Nicole Alexander
Bartender, Five Star Bar & Grill


Nazario Odeste
Nightclub promoter, Entice Chicago


Lion Head Pub


Beer promoter
Major American label


Humboldt Park bar

(all from gratuities; working one night per week)

Lowest-paid mover
Burrows Moving Company

($10 an hour, 25 hours per week)

Highest-paid mover
Burrows Moving Company

($17 an hour, 40 hours per week)

Calvin Kitten
Dancer, Joffrey Ballet


Gail Rastorfer
Actor (theatre, commercials/part-time administrative position at Acting Studio Chicago)


Jim Vincent
Artistic director, Hubbard Street Dance Company


Keith Prisco
Master carpenter, Joffrey Ballet


Meredith Miller
Puppet designer and builder

Approx.  $25,000

Michael C. Reynolds
Master electrician, Lyric Opera of Chicago


Adriana Wolfer
Program director, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs


Brian Pudil
Artistic director, Shattered Globe Theatre


Joyce Piven
Artistic director, Piven Theatre Workshop


Thrisa Hodits
Freelance director

(for most recent show, Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company’s H.M.S. Pinafore  at Mandel Hall)

Rachael Mason
Training center director, iO (formerly improvOlympic) Chicago Theater

Approx.  $35,000

Thelma Cura
Nutritionist, Chicago Department of Public Health


Stephanie Izard
Owner and executive chef, Scylla


Two-star restaurant in River North


Head baker
Lincoln Park bakery and sweet shop


Sara Salzinski
Chef/instructor/developer of curriculum and recipes, The Chopping Block


Line cook
Quince at The Homestead   


Whole Foods

Approx.  $18,720
Ricky Sinz
Adult-film actor, model, and co-owner of holeandaheartbeat.com, an adult Web site

Michelle L’amour
Burlesque performer/instructor/ choreographer/producer, The Lavender Cabaret


Coya Paz
Coñartistic director, Teatro Luna


Adam Kline
Aspiring screenwriter and former senior copywriter


Civil design engineer
Co-director, area engineering firm


Molly Gallagher
Personal assistant, Gal Friday Chicago


Kathy Speers
First-year wedding planner, KJS Weddings

Approx.  $30,000

Nafees Ahmed
Deputy commissioner of finance, Chicago Department of Aviation


Kathleen Davis
Window washer, Chicago Department of Aviation


Richard Rucker
Elevator inspector, Chicago Department of Buildings


Elizabeth Smith
Chief curator, Museum of Contemporary Art


Ces·reo Moreno
Visual arts director, National Museum of Mexican Art


Douglas Druick
Prince Trust curator, Art Institute of Chicago


Gabe Lanza
Artist, Lanza Studio


1. Alfonso Soriano
Outfielder, Chicago Cubs

$17 million
($9 million salary plus $8 million signing bonus)
(Source: Chicago Sun-Times)

2. Ben Wallace
Center, Chicago Bulls

$16 million
(Source: sportsillustrated.cnn.com)

3. Aramis Ramirez
Third baseman, Chicago Cubs

$14.6 million
(Source: Chicago Sun-Times)

4. Jim Thome
Designated hitter, Chicago White Sox

$14 million
(Source: sports.espn.go.com)

5. Javier Vazquez
Pitcher, Chicago White Sox

$12.5 million
(Source: sports.espn.go.com)

6. Carlos Zambrano
Pitcher, Chicago Cubs

$12.4 million
(Source: Chicago Tribune)

7. Paul Konerko
First baseman, Chicago White Sox

$12 million
(Source: sports.espn.go.com)

8. Kirk Hinrich
Guard, Chicago Bulls

$11.42 million
(Source: Chicago Tribune)

9. Jon Garland
Pitcher, Chicago White Sox

$10 million
(Source: Daily Herald)

10. Mark Buehrle
Pitcher, Chicago White Sox

$9.5 million
(Source: Daily Herald)

Renee Delemore
Meter reader, ComEd


John Scumaci
Water rate taker, Chicago Department of Water Management

FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME (Except as noted, all figures are for current or most recent season.)

Staley Da Bear
Mascot, Chicago Bears

plus commission for nongame appearances

Rex Grossman
Quarterback, Chicago Bears

(Source: msn.foxsports.com)

Brian Griese
Backup quarterback, Chicago Bears

$3.67 million
(Source: msn.foxsports.com)

Tank Johnson
Defensive tackle, Chicago Bears

(Source: msn.foxsports.com)

Brian Urlacher
Linebacker, Chicago Bears

$4.3 million
(Source: msn.foxsports.com)

Muhsin Muhammad
Wide receiver, Chicago Bears

$9.34 million
(Source: msn.foxsports.com)

Nikolai Khabibulin
Goalie, Chicago Blackhawks

$6.75 million
(Source: chicagoblackhawks.com)

Kyle Calder
Left wing, Chicago Blackhawks

$2.95 million
(Source: Chicago Tribune)

Peter Bondra
Right wing, Chicago Blackhawks

plus bonuses
(Source: Chicago Tribune)

Chris Duhon
Guard, Chicago Bulls

$3.02 million
(Source: sportsillustrated.cnn.com)

Lou Piniella
Manager, Chicago Cubs

$3.5 million
(Source: New York Daily News)

Mark DeRosa
Infielder, Chicago Cubs

Approx.  $4.3 million
(Source: Chicago Tribune)

Jason Marquis
Starting pitcher, Chicago Cubs

$4.75 million
(Source: espn.com)

Kerry Wood
Pitcher, Chicago Cubs

$1.75 million
(does not include more than $6 million in performance incentives) (Source: Chicago Tribune)

Scott Podsednik
Outfielder, Chicago White Sox

$2.9 million
(Source: Chicago Tribune)

Mike MacDougal
Relief pitcher, Chicago White Sox

$6.45 million
(Source: Chicago Tribune)

Jose Contreras
Pitcher, Chicago White Sox

$9 million
(Source: Daily Herald)

Ross Gload
Outfielder/first baseman, Chicago White Sox

(Source: Chicago Tribune)

Highest-paid player
Chicago Sky, one-year-old WNBA team


Lowest-paid player
Chicago Rockstars, first-year American Basketball Association team

(Source: Chicago Tribune)

Senior yoga and pilates instructor
Flow Studio Pilates and Yoga


Ron Kucera
President, Skokie Indians, Little League baseball team


Michael J. Klonoski
President, Butler National Golf Club


Richard M. Daley
Mayor of Chicago


Jacquelyn Heard
Mayor’s press secretary


Joan Coogan
Assistant to the mayor


John Blaul
Assistant superintendent of maps, Chicago Department of Transportation


Joe Moore
Alderman, 49th ward


Michael Dickinson
Firefighter, Naperville Fire Department


Dorothy Coyle
Director of tourism, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs


Bert Vescolani
Vice president of education, Shedd Aquarium


Alexis Presseau
Campus tour guide, DePaul University


Lynn Osmond
President and CEO, Chicago Architecture Foundation


Chicago Architecture Foundation


Second-year funeral
director/embalmer North Side funeral home


Rod Blagojevich
Governor of Illinois


Pat Quinn
Illinois lieutenant governor


Lisa Madigan
Illinois attorney general


Jesse White
Illinois secretary of state


Alexi Giannoulias
Illinois state treasurer


A. George Pradel
Naperville mayor (part-time)

plus $5,400 to serve as city liquor commissioner

Bobbie Steele
President, Cook County Board of Commissioners, retired

for four months (plus $136,000 pension in 2007)
(Source: Sun-Times)

William Bell
Chief, Oak Park Fire Department


Marilyn Elder
Sanitation laborer, Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation


John Eberhardt
Wastewater maintenance field supervisor, Naperville Public Utilities Department


Richard Figiel
Machinist, Chicago Department of Water Management


Annette Amelkovich
Recycling coordinator, Oak Park Department of Public Works


Tong Tran
Deputy chief administrative officer, Chicago Board of Election Commissioners


Philip Cline
Superintendent, Chicago Police Department


Vincent Gortner
Lieutenant, Naperville Police Department


Julie Schwerdtner
Sergeant, Oak Park Police Department


James Gillingham
Law clerk for the Hon. Judge Martin S. Agran, Cook County


Assistant public defender (level 2)
Office of the Cook County Public Defender


Ronald Mohammed
Paralegal, Chicago Department of Law


Margo Ely
Attorney, Naperville Legal Department


Joshua Martin
Lawyer/partner, J. M. Martin & Associates


Daniel Vasquez
Evidence technician, Chicago Police Department


Percy Allen Jr.
Latent fingerprint examiner, Chicago Police Department


Stephen Strzepek
Forensic investigator, Chicago Police Department


Kelly McMullin
Explosives technician, Chicago Police Department


Kay Argo
Compensation/benefits manager, Naperville Human Resources Department


Briana Billingslea
Ethics investigator, Chicago Board of Ethics


JoAnn Newsome
Director of human-rights compliance, Chicago Department of Human Relations


Sam Blake
Program manager, Oprah Winfrey Foundations


Joseph Podlasek
Executive director,  American Indian Center


Michael Mulqueen
Former president and executive director, Greater Chicago Food Depository


Michael Halligan
Senior vice president of logistics and purchase programs, America’s Second Harvest


Linda Novick O’Keefe
Executive director, Common Threads, a nonprofit that teaches children about cooking, culture, and nutrition


Rev. Sid Mohn
President, Heartland Alliance, a human-rights-focused social-service agency


Barry Axler
Executive director, Loretto Hospital Foundation


John Sirek
Director of citizenship, Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation


Account supervisor
International public-relations and marketing firm


Boutique public-relations and marketing firm


Associate art director
International advertising agency


Betty Tunstall
Blacksmith, Chicago Department of Fleet Management


Elizabeth Riordan
Canine handler, Chicago Police Department


Brian Dent
Chief veterinarian, Anti-Cruelty Society


Frank Kruesi
President, Chicago Transit Authority


Patrick Daly
Vice president of Security & Safety, Chicago Transit Authority


David Reuter Jr.
Track welder, Chicago Transit Authority


Michelle New
Red Line rapid transit operator, Chicago Transit Authority


Eric Pickett
Bus operator, Chicago Transit Authority


Gregory Magruder
Bus repairer, Chicago Transit Authority


Steve Kaliski
Floriculturist, Garfield Park Conservatory


Stephanie Wynne
Tree trimmer, Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation


Thankgod Omenazu
Supervising environmental engineer, Chicago Department of Environment


Patti Sauntry
Assistant forester, Naperville Department of Public Works


Gloria Salas
Psychiatrist, Chicago Department of Health


Michael Tootelian
Personal trainer/owner of 1 on 1 Fitness Training


William Gerstein
Former principal, School of Entrepreneurship at South Shore High School


Zoila Garcia
Principal, Whittier Elementary School


English teacher
Park Forest Academy (a private behavioral-disorder school)


Tara Volbrecht
Self-employed tutor, A+ Tutoring Services

Approx.  $15,600
(averaging $35 an hour, 10 hours per week)

Mollie Godfrey
All-but-dissertation Ph.D candidate, University of Chicago

$13,000 stipend
(plus $4,500 for teaching, approx. $3,500 for an archiving job, and $3,000 as a research assistant)

Paula McQuade
Associate professor of English, DePaul University


Ingrid Dorer Fitzpatrick
Academic dean, Latin School of Chicago


M. C. Roderick
President and director, National Merit Scholarship Corporation


Larry Goodman
President and CEO, Rush University Medical Center


Gwendolyn Moton
Operating room nurse, University of Chicago Hospitals


Staff nurse
North suburban hospital


Saul Ayala
Communicable disease control investigator, Chicago Department of Health


Karen Washington Jone
X-ray technologist, Chicago Department of Health


Teresita Hogan
ER physician, Resurrection Medical Center


James Vasilakis
Physician, Swedish Covenant Hospital


Second-year internal medicine resident
West suburban hospital


Jennifer R. Moran-Ferguson
Cosmetic dentist/owner, Water Tower Dental Care

(practicing one day a week)

Wendy Jordan
Reiki master (reiki is a Japanese stress-relieving technique akin to massage), Wendy Jordan Reiki 


Heather Pisano
Massage therapist, Beauty on Call


Angela Hartman
Stylist/owner of Twisted Scissors salon

Approx.  $30,000
(not including gratuities)

Image consultant
The Image Studios


Penny Dawn
Romance novelist

(35 percent royalty on all sales)

Jaime Marie Stepp
Party host (also a model and actress), Jaime Stepp and Company

Approx.  $80,000
(depending on number of events)

De Kuan Xie
Foster grandparent, Chicago Department on Aging

(20 hours per week)
HIRE LEARNING (Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education)

Warrick L. Carter
President, Columbia College Chicago


Anthony E. Jones
President, School of the Art Institute


Rev. Michael J. Garanzini
President, Loyola University Chicago

(undisclosed compensation is paid to the president’s religious order)

Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider
President, DePaul University

(undisclosed compensation is paid to the president’s religious order)

David Gwartney
Lead pastor, the Church of Wrigleyville


Senior rabbi
Area synagogue


Catholic priest
Inner-city parish associate pastor, Archdiocese of Chicago

(plus room and board, car and health care allowances, and “stole fees” for weddings and funerals)

Godfrey J. Catanus
Associate pastor of student ministries, Northwest Filipino Baptist Church,  Elk Grove Village

THE BOYS’ CLUB (Jordan’s 2006 salary, Forbes; all others, 2005, Chicago Tribune)

Timothy R. Schwertfeger
CEO, Nuveen Investmentsn

$6.32 million

Miles D. White
CEO, Abbott Laboratories

$4.78 million

Melvin J. Gordon
CEO, Tootsie Roll Industries

 $4.39 million

Gregory C. Case
CEO, Aon

$3.93 million

Robert W. Lane
CEO, Deere

$3.6 million

Robert L. Parkinson Jr.
CEO, Baxter International

$3.16 million

G. Allen Andreas
CEO, Archer Daniels Midland

$3.08 million

James W. Owens
CEO, Caterpillar

$2.57 million

Edward M. Liddy
CEO, Allstate

$1.82 million

Richard C. Vie
CEO, Unitrin

$1.61 million

Glenn F. Tilton
CEO, United Airlines

$1.12 million

Joe Mansueto
CEO, Morningstar


Michael Jordan
Former athlete/endorser

$32 million (2006)

Accounting manager
Small Skokie-based medical equipment distributor


Global tax operations analyst


Account manager
CDW Corporation

Approx.  $50,000
(including commission)

Jonathan Wysaski
Self-employed S&P 500 options trader

$100,000, minimum

Insurance  consulting firm

(plus bonus, 15 to 30 percent of salary)

Marine subrogation representative (claim handler, cargo division)
Insurance company


Area Starbucks store

Approx. $16,562
(including gratuities; 30 to 35 hours per week)

Chicago-based coffee company


Eric Kiander
Video game programmer, Midway Games

Approx.  $70,000

Steven Danan
PC technician, Abbott Laboratories


Thomas Van Housen
Computer consultant/owner, PC/Mac Guru Ltd.


Ryan Wolff
Flash designer/digital video editor and producer, Harmony Joyride Productions


Veronica Velez
Freelance QuickBooks guru

Approx. $14,950

Hector Hernandez
Librarian (level 4), Chicago Public Library


Joshua Kotin
Editor, Chicago Review, a journal of poetry and fiction


Robert Karrow
Curator of special collections and maps, Newberry Library


Sabrina Guzman
Parking enforcement officer, Oak Park Department of Public Works


Annette Stacey
Booter, Chicago Department of Revenue


Jeffrey Weiner
Traffic engineer, Chicago Department of Emergency Management and Communications


Debra Carolan
Crossing guard, Naperville Police Department


Limo driver
Town & Country Limousines, Inc

(including gratuities)

City Service

(including gratuities)

First-year female veterinarian,
Lake View vet clinic


First-year male veterinarian (and fiancé of vet above),
Lake View vet clinic


Barack Obama
U.S. senator and author

Senate salary plus $1.2 million partial payment on $1.9-million three-book deal

Michelle Obama
Vice president for community and external affairs, University of Chicago Hospitals

(Source: Chicago Tribune)

Casey Deja
Self-employed graphic designer

Approx.  $50,000

Peter R. Deja
Loan officer, Diversified Mortgage


Airida and Valdas Judys
Florists/owners, SunFlowerGallery


John Maloof
Realtor, Century 21 Grande

(down from $156,000 in 2005)

Daniel Deja
Real-estate sales agent, Cross County Realty

Approx.  $50,000

Ari Elliott
Realtor, Chicago Apartment Finders


Midsize apartment management company


Joseph F. Braun
Exterminator/manager, Rose Pest Solutions
(plus a bonus of up to $8,000)


Gus Martinez
Carpenter/owner, All Affordable Construction


Tim Ramey
Electrician/owner, T & R Electrical




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