Thursday, November 20, 2008

Annual Aldermanic Salary Survey

The Broken Heart of Roger's Park celebrates four years of activism looking at Aldermanic salaries.


  1. Clearly the blogger doesn't have the slightest idea of what he speaks. Rather than guess about what any or all Aldermen do, he should probably ask.

    Unlike most other professions where people can go home, we live in and on our jobs 24/7. That of course doesn't mean we are in an office writing legislation everyday all day, it means that when we drive to Church we/I see garbage strewn in alleys; abandoned vehicles; trees that need trimming; potholes; etc. In the evening as I drive home I get stopped by constituents with concerns; see young men on corners; water pooling from the rain blockers; street lights that are out; property falling into disrepair; cars parked in yards, etc. When I am in my home I get calls from various City service departments if there is an emergency; too regularly I get calls from the Police Commanders about some nefarious activity; calls from the Ward Supt. about some Dept. decision that affects his ability to perform his duties; etc. In the grocery store, at funerals, at weddings, walking my dog, I get constituents stopping me and giving me complaints, asking questions, asking for help or otherwise addressing me, not as their neighbor but as their Alderman.

    An Alderman that loves his or her Ward and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for its residents does the legislative tasks which are part time, holds office hours which more often than not mix administrative and social service responsibilities, attends beat meetings, community association meetings, block club meetings, Church meetings, planning meetings, and runs programs for their constituents. This is by no means a part time job.

  2. Dear Alderman Lyle,

    Thank you for your post, because it serves as an excellent example of what is fundamentally wrong with our alderman.

    None of the activities you cited, noble as they may be, are in your job description. In fact, you don't have a job description. None of the various chores you have assigned yourself are among your duties under state and City law. Much of what you describe can be subsumed under the category of perpetual campaigning for yourself, which our alderman do for many, many hours every day, starting from day one of taking office.

    We Chicago taxpayers have funded a 411 system for routine issues and a 911 system for emergencies. We Chicago taxpayers each have only ONE person who can interceded for us in City Hall to make sure our tax dollars are spent wisely: OUR ALDERMAN. If you cannot take your REAL job responsibilities seriously, we don't care what other extracurriculars you indulge in. Sorry, you are a legislator, not a community organizer. So legislate!

    Just because Daley took your real job away from you and you let him does not mean you get to keep your pay and invent a different job for yourself.

    This is a new era of information. The days when you can distract your constituents with new garbage cans are over.

    In your next post informing us of how hard you are working, please list the amendments YOU personally offered to the budget you rubber stamped yesterday to save us money. Please list some of your PERSONAL legislative initiatives and their current status

    Thank you again,

  3. "Clearly the blogger doesn't have the slightest idea of what he speaks."

    not the slightest?

    In your post did you forget to deny that Wed you voted to approve a 6.2% raise for yourself at the same time as approving hundreds of layoffs, higher fees, and service cutbacks?

  4. The Police commander and the Ward superintendent don't report to you. You are not the mayor of the 6th ward no matter how hard you pretend.

  5. Hugh:

    No I didn't vote for a 6.2% raise for myself, because we are prohibited by Illinois Statute from changing our salary during our term of office. The increase you mention was voted on before the last election and is a COLA.

    As you correctly noted, I am not the Mayor. However, that declaration fails to negate the validity of anything that I posted in a response to whether the position was full or part time.

    Because most people don't see or have the opportunity to speak to the Mayor they address their concerns to us. That is the reason that my office is known as the 6th Ward Service Office. We are public servants and to the extent that we can assist our residents in any of innumerable ways, we try to do that. That is the nature of the job in today's society not some text book definition. It includes conferring with the Ward Supt. and Commanders on a regular basis. Neither of us reports to the other.

    As for legislation, its all a matter of Public Record, available for your review. The people walking through our doors and phoning our office are rarely interested in a new piece of legislation they are looking for assistance. Oft times they have attempted to navigate the 311 system and want to talk to someone about the problem, not a call center. Today's society requires that we do more than legislate and within our limited abilities, many of us do much more than legislate. If that's a problem for you, it will continue to be one.

  6. "The increase you mention was voted on before the last election ... "

    And you were against it?

    Or is each election a fresh mandate, absolving our alderman of all responsibility for anything prior, you are born again, hallelujah!

    I see, you're not denying you gave yourself a 6.2%, you're just saying it wasn't at the exact same time as you approved the layoffs, tax increase, fee increases, and service reductions? Clever you!

    "Today's society requires that we do more than legislate ... "

    Today's society requires that you legislate. First things first.

    "As for legislation, its all a matter of Public Record, available for your review."

    Favor us with a few of your personal accomplishments. Where in the record can we see Ald. Lyle's stamp? For example, what was your personal impact on the budget? What cost savings and waste reductions did you champion? Pray tell.

  7. " ... we are prohibited by Illinois Statute from changing our salary during our term of office."

    "We are public servants and to the extent that we can assist our residents in any of innumerable ways, we try to do that."

    Must be nice to assign your own pay and design your own job!

    You seem familiar with Illinois' statutes. Will you kindly direct me to the statutory basis for your conception of alderman as public servant?

    Thank you.

  8. "Because most people don't see or have the opportunity to speak to the Mayor they address their concerns to us. That is the reason that my office is known as the 6th Ward Service Office."

    So now you're the Mayor's guy in the 6th ward? The ward office is a field office for the Mayor's office? Where did you get these ideas?

    Are you familiar with the doctrine of separation of powers? Does Chicago have separate executive and legislative branches? VP Cheney thinks he is in both, do you?

  9. Hugh is happy to attack Ald.Lyle (or any other sitting alderman).

    Hugh , meanwhile, is an example of the negative opposition that is in Uptown & Rogers Park, where there are many vocal bloggers & message board posters who hate their aldermen (46th Ward & 49th Ward).

    If this were one of those blogs, we would have a virtual mob berating the person who might find something “good” about their aldermen, and telling them how they (the dissenting commenter) doesn’t belong here, even if he had any real friendships or other relationships or experience in this ward.

    Thesixthward, however, respects differing opinions. But we want people to do something other than whine. Sure, make a comment if there is an issue. But I also challenge you to take responsibility and be a part of the solution. And also , truly reach out to your “enemies”, even if they still berate you. (It worked for President Obama)

    If you took out the attacks on the aldermen, you would find relatively little on those blogs. We don’t want this blog to degenerate to that. While creator of the “Broken Heart of Morse Park” (which has the NEGATIVE address of “” is open about his identity, people like Hugh & IrishPirate (in Uptown) attack people anonymously. While they rant & rave about the lack of accountability of their city government, they hide in the shadows, away from any accountability for themselves.

    One last thought – it’s interesting to note that those blogs which specialize in attacking their aldermen have had the same effect as negative campaigning did against Barack Obama – it only destroyed the respect of their own candidate, and they end up losing election after election.

  10. "An Alderman that loves his or her Ward and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for its residents does the legislative tasks which are part time ... " etc. etc.

    I do not agree that an alderman in a major American city, a $6B/yr enterprise, can accomplish their legally required duties of budgetary and other oversight on a part-time basis. Chciago taxpayers have many concerns. Seems to me you can only have time to campaign for yourself 24/7 by letting Daley worry about what legislation needs passing.

    You were so quick to brag on your non-legislative activities, isn't there anything you can highlight for us with respect to your personal legislative accomplishments?

    For what you say about what you love about what you do it sure seems you would be happier working as a community organizer of some kind.

  11. "An Alderman ... does the legislative tasks which are part time ... "

    You are one heck of a legislator, I guess - capable of getting the work of a $6B major American city done on a part-time basis, freeing you up for a work day of leisurely dog walks and church dinners and other campaign activities.

    So - everything under control in Chicago, Ald. Lyle? Anything else need looking into you can think of? I guess not. Life is good!

  12. If not yourself, how about your taxpayer-salalried assistant or your two taxpayer-salaried staff persons? What legislation have they contributed to? What are you guys working on for next week?

    Come on, isn't there SOMETHING in your legislative record you can call your own? All I'm asking is you toot your own horn a little! You can't manage it? What kind of politician are you? Post one thing and I'll go away.

    Have you ever considered doing what some other alderman are doing so they have a talking point in response to these kind of queries?

    Have you thought about adopting an animal species as your pet cause? (Geese and elephants are taken.)

    Or perhaps there is a food item you think might be harmful?

    Have a pleasant holiday!

  13. Hugh,

    Tell me who the community leaders are in the 6th ward? What neighborhoods do we have? What are needs specific to our ward?

    Even if its a relatively small group, what's the contact info for the leader?

    Can you TRULY help our readers out, Hugh?

  14. Hugh,

    it looks like challenging you to is what has made you go away.

    You seem to have a great ability to research, so this should be easy.

    C'mon, just a few contacts to show that you know our ward enough to guide people to some leaders in our community, and help us change for the better.

    it's not like I am asking you to run for office or anything -- though I would be very interested to see if YOU could stand the "scrutiny" you like to give out...

  15. JP:

    I find it interesting as well that Hugh hasn't sent back a response to your questions, but that doesn't negate his attempts to have Ald. Lyle respond to his questioning.

    Because regarding our paid community leader by our tax dollars is Ald. Lyle. And in case you're wondering I do live in the ward in Greater Grand Crossing. And a HUGE need in our area is better schooling and funding for educational improvements and not just cosmetic face lifts that look nice off the Ryan (i.e., Deneen Elementary).

    I will agree that we all need to do better to help our ward out to prosper, but we need better leadership. Perhaps, we should look to Presedent Elect Obama's example and hope that change comes to the 6th ward.

  16. Prior to the Deneen addition there had been no additional classroom space in this Ward for more than 30 years. While I agree with writer that it looks nice, the addition was not cosmetic. When the Board finally approved the funds, after many years of lobbying by the parents and elected officials, special education students were being taught in the hallway behind a movable partition.

    I agree wholeheartedly that we need more funding for education and encourage all like minded people to contact their State legislators with their concerns. The current system of funding in Illinois places it at the bottom of 50 States in State investment in public education. The City's only way to put more into education is to raise property taxes which is certainly not the answer.

  17. I can think of a great way to put more money into the education of all Chicago wards, drop our over spending for public servanthood!

    A servant is one who deffers his own interests for those he serves. What percentage of people in any Chicago ward makes a salary over $100K for their public service duties? I'm not advocating for no salary, but can anyone justify for me the $5 million plus spent on salaries?

    Like many in my ward (6th), whatever denomination or creed, I'm going to be in church tomorrow to fellowship and be fed by my minister. Who sacrifices for his congregation both with his time and service. As an individual who understands his role as a public servant of his flock, he would never dare look out for his interests above the congregation. I undersatand the flack I may take bringing a religious analogy, but I think we can all see that the two have common interests and desires, but never their own over the good of the body.

    How many Alderman would their be if their salary was as modest as $50K (and for most in my ward $50K isn't even modest enough, but we can't set our pay on median income levels...or should we?).

    I work in an industry that has to constantly adjust spending habits to ensure viability within the market place. If we continue to run on an old broken system, should we wonder at the level of all our frustration. Or are we not smart enough to see links between our private and governmental short comings. I vote that we are smart enough to see that we're not spending judicially.

    And for the record, I would be okay with a property tax hike if all my tax dollars where used in my ward for my me selfish.


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