The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Even Politicians Need a Second Job

By Sean Stillmaker in News on Mar 6, 2011 5:30PM

2011_1_10_RTA.jpg Sometimes the fat government paycheck equipped with benefits and pension just isn’t enough for local lawmakers. So like any hardworking Joe they grab another job, a government one, that is also equipped with a fat paycheck, benefits and pension paid by taxpayers.

The Regional Transportation Authority, which oversees CTA, Metra and Pace, and the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority is that beacon of hope for our starving legislators. The RTA offers board members a $25,000 a year salary, Metra $15,000 and Pace $10,000.

The highway authority is the cream of the crop offering $31,426 to attend only 12 meetings a year. Legislation only called for board members to receive $15,000 a year, but in 2008 the Illinois Compensation Review Board (now defunct) decided the job was worth twice that, a Daily Herald payroll analysis reports.

Mayor Tom Weisner of Aurora makes $111,840 a year as mayor plus his $31,426 as tollway director. Going to those 12 meetings a year is hard so he receives a travel stipend and tip money for valets, records show. He gets health benefits from both positions and a pension.

Pace’s bylaws require members to be either a current or former elected municipal official. Metra is the only agency that does not allow board members to double dip. But their former boss reportedly stole over $475,000 from Metra to support his multiple households before he committed suicide last year. Metra has since spent $1 million on auditors and consultants to improve oversight.