‘Minimum Wage’ Of $100,000+ For 50,000 Highly-Compensated Illinois Public Employees Costs Taxpayers $8 Billion
In Illinois, and many states, public service has little to do with serving the public and everything to do with using the public’s money to serve politicians. Whenever we open the books, Illinois is consistently among the worst offenders. Recently we found Cook County animal control officers making $105,000; suburban school administrators at $503,000; university doctors earning $1.3 million; and 72 small-town ‘managers’ out-earning every governor of the 50 states.
This week, Governor Bruce Rauner (R) told the state public employee union AFSME, “Illinois is broke.” Our data and analysis at OpenTheBooks.com shows he’s right. There are 50,000 public employees earning six-figure salaries who cost Illinois taxpayers $8 billion a year.
Using our interactive mapping tool, you can quickly review the public employees across Illinois who earn more than $100,000.
Here are a few examples of what you’ll uncover by zip code:
- 18,900 teachers and school administrators – including $503,200 for Mohsin Dada, an administrator at North Shore School District 112 who earned $248,510 salary, plus a teacher’s retirement pension of $254,700 (ZIP – 60035).
- 9,000 college and university employees – including Dr. Fady Toufic Charbel at the University of Illinois at Chicago who earned $1.38 million (ZIP – 60601).
- 8,838 State of Illinois employees – including Steven Valasek, a $218,519 ‘contractual worker’ employed by Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger (R) (ZIP – 62704).
- 5,122 small-town city and village employees – including 72 municipal managers who out-earn every governor of the 50 states at $180,000 per year.
- 5,007 City of Chicago rank-and-file managers and workers – including $216,000 for embattled Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D).
In total, there’s roughly $9.3 billion in total compensation flowing to highly-compensated government workers when counting 7,637 federal employees based in Illinois with six-figure salaries.
So, who are the biggest culprits in conferring six-figure salaries? We ranked the fourteen largest public pay and pension systems in Illinois:
The stories of taxpayer abuse seem endless.
Ex-lawmakers are double dipping the system. Former state representative Roger Eddy now makes $322,200 – that’s $291,725 as Executive Director of Illinois Association of School Boards and $30,500 from his lawmaker’s pension (ZIP – 62703). Then there’s former governor Jim Edgar (R) who took $2.25 million in salary from the University of Illinois between 2000-2013 while also receiving more than $2 million in pension from a two-term stint as governor.
Suburban schools are spiking salaries, which only encourages others to salary-spike. For example, there are 1,170 educators with $100,000+ salaries in just two of 900 school districts: Township High School District 214 and Palatine Township High School 211. Of course, this incentivizes the Chicago Teacher’s Union to strike for even higher salaries (1,100 six-figure salaries).
County bosses are getting in on the action. In just three of the 102 counties (DuPage, Lake and Will), 707 employees earned $100,000+ last year. Lake won top honors with 265 employees in six-figures. In DuPage, the ‘Chief of Staff’ to Chairman Dan Cronin (R) made $201,599.
Even ‘water district’ employees are into the taxpayer largess with nearly 1,000 employees making $100,000+. Across Illinois, 326 highly compensated ‘park district’ employees make over $100,000. Then there’s the powerful Illinois Municipal League (IML) with seven employees picking up $1.2 million. IML hasn’t filed an IRS income tax return since 1979.
Top cop, Attorney General Lisa Madigan has 829 employees on staff, but can’t seem to find public corruption anywhere. On her own staff, Madigan designs ‘golden parachutes’ for key hires:
Ronald Yawger was the Chicago Police (CPD) investigator who “missed” key evidence linking a then-Mayor Richard J. Daley nephew to the punch that killed young David Koschman outside a city bar. In 2007, Yawger retired at CPD – but was immediately rehired by Lisa Madigan as a Special Investigator. Since 2008, Yawger’s pay spiked from $53,195 to $119,745 (2013). Including his $77,000 CPD pension, Yawger now out-earns every employee in the Attorney General’s office.