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Pay gap between Champaign and Urbana employees actually widening, new data reveals

Owen Henderson / For CU-CitizenAccess and Dylan Tiger

Recently released data on employee salaries of the City of Champaign and City of Urbana show that Urbana pays substantially less than Champaign and that the pay gap between the two cities has actually increased over the past two years, according a CU-CitizenAccess review. 

The median Champaign employee made $53,044 more than the median employee in Urbana in the 2020-2021 fiscal year when all salaries are taken into account.

CU-CitizenAccess previously reported that the salary and compensation gap between the employees of the City of Champaign and the City of Urbana was narrowing — based on compensation reports by both local governments.

Urbana only included compensation information for all employees with total compensation packages of $75,000 or more. The report for making public the employees whose salaries are $75,000 or more is required by state law although all salary information can be released.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request for all the City of Urbana employee salaries, the latest CU-CitizenAccess analysis shows the compensation disparity between Champaign and Urbana employees increased. 

In comparison to the 2018-2019 fiscal year, the earnings gap between the two cities’ median salaries actually increased by about $9,000 for all employees, totaling $27,444, and increased by $6,500 for employees earning more than $75,000, totaling $8,587.

When the data for employees receiving under $75,000 a year is included, the number of employees increases to 315, more than double the 145 employees included in the compensation report the City of Urbana publishes. 

Urbana is not the only city to remove employees making less than $75,000 from these required reports. Central Illinois cities that also remove these employees include Decatur, Mahomet and Danville, among others. State law requires only employees making $75,000 or more be made public although all salaries subject to Freedom of Information requests.

With the addition of these 170 employees, Urbana’s median salary drops $25,187 — from a median salary of $86,204 to a salary of $61,016. 

Similarly, when the data for those making under $75,000 a year is included, the median total compensation decreases. The median goes from $95,963 in the city’s compensation report to $71,626, which is a difference of $24,337.

Instead of the reported $3,004 difference in median salary, the gap between Champaign and Urbana employees’ salaries is $27,444, which is also an increase of $8,686 from the gap shown in the 2018-2019 fiscal year data.

When it comes to total compensation, the gap in the 2018-2019 fiscal year was $43,584.

Owen Henderson / For CU-CitizenAccess

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