Ald. Raymond Lopez is nicknamed Showpez for his grandstanding style. Most Chicagoans probably appreciated the show Lopez made of turning down the City Council’s latest pay increase, which raises the top aldermanic salary to $130,000. “How can anyone who continued making 6 figures during the most tumultuous time in recent history justify a 5.5% raise while so many are struggling?” he tweeted, along with a photo of his signed form rejecting the money. Lopez is an exception: 45 aldermen accepted this year’s raise.
City Council pay is tied to the consumer price index — guaranteeing aldermen a raise most years, while sparing them from voting for one. Still, our aldermen earn less than the highest-paid council members in Los Angeles ($207,000), New York ($148,500), Philadelphia ($148,090), and Washington, D.C. ($141,282).