Mayor Lori Lightfoot takes questions at a press conference after a City Council meeting on Oct. 26, 2022. Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago

CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced an ordinance Wednesday that would give Chicago’s leader their first pay raise in nearly 20 years.

The proposal would offer the mayor, city treasurer and city clerk an annual raise tied to inflation, with a cap at 5 percent. If approved by the full City Council, the mayor would become eligible for the pay raise in 2024, according to the ordinance.

Each official would be able to opt out of the raise each year, according to the ordinance.

The Mayor’s salary is currently $216,210, which has remained unchanged since 2006. The pay bump proposal was first reported by the Tribune.

Lightfoot’s proposed 2023 budget also includes a more than 20 percent raise for both the clerk and treasurer. Each will make $161,016 if the budget is approved by City Council.

At a press conference after Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Lightfoot called the proposal a “cost of living increase” similar to what alderpeople receive.

“To be clear, the ordinance that was introduced today would put the mayor, the city treasurer and the clerk in line with all the other elected officials regarding a cost of living increase. It’s not a salary increase, I want to make sure that’s clear. And it puts it puts us in line with the aldermen,” she said. “The mayor, the treasurer, the clerk would have the ability to opt-in or opt-out.”

In 2022, each alderperson was eligible for a whopping 9.6 percent raise, linked to high inflation rates. Those raises will take effect in January.

Seventeen City Council members refused the pay bump, and several introduced measures that would curb pay hikes in the future.

Those who declined raises are Alds. Daniel La Spata (1st), Brian Hopkins (2nd), Nicole Lee (11th), Marty Quinn (13th), Ed Burke (14th), Raymond Lopez (15th), Matt O’Shea (19th), Silvana Tabares (23rd), Felix Cardona (31st), Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), Gilbert Villegas (36th), Samantha Nugent (39th), Anthony Napolitano (41st), Brendan Reilly (42nd), Tom Tunney (44th), Matt Martin (47th) and Maria Hadden (49th). 

In September, Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th) introduced an ordinance that would cap aldermanic salaries at 5 percent or the inflation rate, whichever is less.

Lopez (15th) also introduced an ordinance that would reduce the annual salary for newly elected alderpeople and veteran members who have accepted all of the inflationary pay raises to $120,000, according to the Sun-Times. It would hold steady for four years and then be capped at a 3 percent inflation rate.

Help Block Club Get
500 More Subscribers!

Subscribe to Block Club now and you’ll get a free 16-by-20-inch Chicago neighborhood print of your choice, helping us reach our goal of getting 500 more subscribers before 2024. Click here to subscribe or click here to gift a subscription.

Listen to the Block Club Chicago podcast: