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Mayor Daley on McPier

By Kevin Robinson in News on Jan 6, 2010 5:20PM

Photo by wvallen.
Mayor Daley had his hands full with McPier this week, staving off the suggestion of a merger of the troubled Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority with the state agency that owns and operates U.S. Cellular Field. "First of all, you can't take McCormick Place, which is not doing that well, and merge it with the Illinois sports authority, which is doing well," Daley told the Tribune. "You're saddling the Illinois sports authority. You couldn't do that, no, it would be unfair."

Meanwhile, the mayor was pushing for cutbacks in the number of six-figure employees that hold positions there. The Sun-Times did an analysis of payroll records at McPier, finding that 54 people make $100,000 a year or more there, 17 percent more than in 2006. Times are tough, the mayor said, adding “when the economy is very, very challenging, it is time that government look within itself and understand that people are really suffering and they have to react." But Daley defended his people, saying “They have good, qualified people. They have good people over there. Yes, they’re good people. They work very hard,” while noting that he's "taken a nine percent cut in salary — almost 20 days off without pay. Ask my wife. She’ll tell you that.”

McPier CEO Juan Ochoa agreed with the mayor's assessment that people have to make sacrifices in tough economic times. And, he claims, he's doing his part. Noting that he agreed to give up $35,000 in deferred compensation that McPier CEO's generally take as a lump sum payment at the end of the year. “That equates to 16.5 percent of my overall compensation. And I once had a company car, which I no longer have,” Ochoa told the Sun-Times. Without that 16.5 percent lump sum, his salary is only $195,000 a year.