Weather Updates

Mayor Rahm Emanuel hasn’t delivered promised cuts in his office

Updated: June 18, 2012 8:19AM

O n the day after he took office, Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued an edict: Every department head at City Hall had to cut senior management payroll costs by 10 percent.

But that hasn’t happened inside Emanuel’s own office, city payroll records show.

Instead, the number of mayoral staffers — and the total wages they’re paid — have increased since Emanuel replaced Mayor Richard M. Daley a year ago, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis finds.

As of April 11, the payroll for the mayor’s office included Emanuel and 85 aides — each of them a political appointee, who can be fired at will, making them part of senior management.

Their total yearly salaries: nearly $7.6 million, for an average of more than $88,000.

In February 2010, a few months before Daley announced he wouldn’t seek another term, the mayor’s office had 76 staffers whose salaries totaled about $6.9 million — and that figure reflects their salaries before they were ordered by the Daley administration to take unpaid days off that translated into a 9.2 percent pay cut.

Aides to Emanuel note that 10 new mayoral staffers — who make up what’s called the “Innovation Delivery Team” — are paid through a grant from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s private foundation.

Still, even if those 10 aren’t counted, Emanuel so far would fall far short of his 10 percent target for cuts.

Emanuel aides also note that, under Daley, 10 people who were “permanently detailed” to work in the mayor’s office were carried on the payrolls of other City Hall departments.

At his first news conference as mayor, Emanuel promised he would save taxpayers $5.5 million by trimming senior-management payroll across city government. He’s since claimed to have fulfilled that vow.

And, throughout city government, he has — largely by leaving vacancies unfilled. Emanuel aides say City Hall has left 95 vacant jobs unfilled, laid off 15 senior managers and cut the salaries of 16 others.

Payroll records also show that, while Daley had a dozen staffers making more than $120,000 a year apiece, Emanuel has 22.

In addition, five of Emanuel’s department heads are making more than their Daley-era predecessors, including new Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon. At $167,004 a year, Bannon is paid nearly $10,000 more than Mary Dempsey, who stepped down in January after 18 years in the job.

The other Emanuel department heads who are being paid better than the Daley staffers they succeded: Transportation Commissioner Gabriel Klein ($169,488), Budget Director Alex Holt ($169,992), Comptroller Amer Ahmad ($165,000) and Evelyn Diaz ($156,000), who heads the Department of Family and Support Services.

Four new departments heads, including Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, make less than their predecessors in the Daley administration did, while the rest of Emanuel’s department heads are paid the same as their predecessors.

Dan Mihalopoulos

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.