Forum: Aldermen should cut their pay
June 12, 2012 8:54PM
Updated: July 14, 2012 6:39AM
The Country Club Hills City Council is looking for ways to save the taxpayers money, including reducing public safety services. The council wants to help balance the budget by trimming the police and fire departments’ budgets by 20 percent. Both departments are understaffed.
We think a better place to start would be the council’s budget. How many city residents are aware of how well aldermen are compensated for a part-time job?.
In reviewing the 2011-12 city budget, we noticed that aldermanic salaries, including their committee chairman stipends, range from a high of $34,948 to a low of $33,766. Not bad for a part-time job. And that pay does not include a $9,000 annual expense account per alderman, plus a pension benefit.
As a former alderman for 16 years, I was paid $100 per month for serving on numerous committees, attending many meetings, developing budgets and meeting with residents. This was with no expense account, no committee stipend and no pension.
My wife and I think cutting our public safety services is not the way to go. If your house catches on fire or you need a paramedic or police officer, are you going to call your alderman?
We understand that the aldermen’s pay is set by ordinance and any change to the ordinance would take effect only at the end of an alderman’s current term. But we also know of other south suburbs where aldermen or trustees have voluntarily reduced their pay or refused a salary to save their taxpayers money. Why not do so in Country Club Hills?
Phil and Maureen Schmitz
Country Club Hills
Lessons from Wisconsin
I hope Gov. Pat Quinn takes some hints from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker surviving the recall election. All Illinois legislators also should take heed. The people of Wisconsin have spoken, and it’s about time that the people of this country wise up to see that we cannot go forward with the status quo.
Walker had the guts to do what he said he would do when he ran for governor. The public employee unions figured they could intimidate him, but they were wrong.
It’s time for Quinn and Illinois legislators to do the same. We cannot keep spending in this state, and we need pension reform desperately.
I think in November we will again realize that conservatives want to take this state and country back. We need jobs here, and we need to start now before it’s too late. Are you listening Gov. Quinn?
Mari Jo O’Neill
Wobblies had it right
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and his moneyed buddies could have been defeated if the labor movement back in the 1920s had listened to the Wobblies (Industrial Workers of the World) and organized all wage earners into one union instead of what we have today — a multitude of self-serving entities having no sense of solidarity with other workers.
With one union, a living wage could be demanded for all workers with the threat of a national strike.