The Cost of Leadership | Year In Review | Chicago Reader

The Cost of Leadership 

How to Tell If You're Getting Your Money's Worth

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Does this story sound familiar? You make a phone call to City Hall, wanting only to learn how to register to vote, or who qualifies for the senior citizens property tax exemption, or some other mundane detail. Fifteen minutes and five transfers later, you are very, very mad. "Hey!" you wonder, "why are these people so rude to me when I pay their salaries! I'm a taxpayer, for heaven's sake--can't I get my money's worth?"

This holiday season you'll probably have your fair share of upsets at the hands of public employees, what with snow removal, tax payments, and State of the Union/State/City messages. Don't get mad--get analytical! Use the all-new Pocket Guide to Public Officials' Salaries to determine how much you personally pay for the services of officials in the public trust. In most cases (exception: see Superintendent of Public Schools) your cost is only pennies a year, so you'll never feel that you aren't getting your two cents' worth again!


1. Cut out chart and carry in wallet, pocketbook, or back pocket for quick reference.

2. As a moment of high frustration approaches, consult the chart to find the public official who is upsetting you. Determine how much of his or her salary you are paying.

3. Decide if you have received your money's worth from him or her this year.

The Pocket Guide to Public Officials' Salaries

Public Official Annual Cost Your Cost

Mayor (Richard Daley) $115,000 4 cents

Mayor's chief of staff (Edward Bedore) 97,752 3.5 cents

Mayor's spokesperson (Avis Lavelle) 92,448 3.3 cents

Alderman * (your favorite's name here) 55,000 1.9 cents

County Board President (Richard. Phelan) 95,000 1.8 cents

City Clerk* (Walter Kozubowski) 60,000 2.1 cents

City Treasurer (Miriam Santos) 60,000 2.1 cents

Police patrol officer (entry level) 27,534 0.9 cents

Receptionist at City Hall (entry level) 22,670 0.8 cents

Meter maid (grade one) 15,312 0.5 cents

Crossing guard (grade two) 13,915 0.4 cents

President (George Bush) 225,000 0.09 cents

Superintendent of Public Schools

(Ted Kimbrough) 175,000 43 cents per pupil

plus $25,000 housing allowance 200,000 49 cents per pupil

* Note: These figures do not reflect the cost of former or ongoing criminal investigations. Please consult the Pocket Guide to Criminal Investigations, which is updated quarterly!

Sources: 1991 Budget and Appropriations Authorization, City of Chicago; Chicago Board of Education; White House Office of Public Affairs; United States Bureau of the Census. All salaries are for the year ending December 31, 1991.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Rod McCullom

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
His Shadow 16th Street Theater, Berwyn Cultural Center
September 05
Performing Arts
The Great Leap Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Upstairs Theatre
September 05

Tabbed Event Search

Popular Stories