Automatic raises hurt Cook salary plan
The Cook County Board will shortly be voting on a proposal to increase the salaries of all county elected officials. The League of Women Voters of Cook County supports that increase. Those salaries have not been increased for 20 years. A study by Deloitte shows that most of the salaries are below those of their peers in other counties. It is important to have appropriate salaries for elected offices to attract good candidates.
However, the League opposes one sentence in the proposal that provides for yearly increases in perpetuity equal to the lesser of 3% or the change in the Chicago Consumer Price Index (COLA). As noted by the Deloitte study, the salaries of most county officials are set by statute and do not provide for yearly adjustments.
The League believes that there should be regular reviews of all the salaries prior to the new terms of the elected officials. If a COLA or any other adjustment is justified, the members of the Board should be willing to take a vote on any increases and explain their votes to Cook County residents.
The League has urged the members of the County Board to delete the perpetual COLA provision.
Cynthia Schilsky, President
League of Women Voters of Cook County