DuPage County Board members Tuesday voted to hold salaries for elected officials flat for the next two years, after which they will get 2 percent raises for two years.
The board also put an end to three yearly stipends, one for the sheriff and one each for the County Board chairman and county clerk.
“I’ve been mindful of this debate,” County Board Chairman Dan Cronin said of the controversy about giving any raise to officials already considered by many to be well paid.
He noted that the county had been through “tough times …I don’t think we’re fully out of it yet.”
But he also said he felt the board had been sensitive about the situation and that the raise is not out of line with what other county employees received.
Two of the stipends eliminated, $6,500 to the chairman for serving as liquor commissioner and $3,150 to the county clerk for serving as secretary to the Liquor Commission, were uncontroversial and passed without comment.
However, the elimination of a $15,000 stipend for the sheriff serving as supervisor of Safety drew strong opposition from several board members.
Board member Jim Zay advised that the three stipends should be voted on separately, and fellow board members Pete DiCianni and Brian Krajewski agree with him.
But their colleagues voted to decide all of the stipends together and voted 13 to 4 to eliminate them.
“We are a county that’s larger than three states,” DiCianni said, stressing that the sheriff had an important function. “I see him in my area all the time.”
Board member Gary Grasso argued that the stipends were just “add-ons,” and board member Bob Larsen argued that official’s salaries were easily available to the public for review, but stipends were another matter.
Board member James Healy noted that the stipend was originally agreed on in 2006 and related to the plan to shift some duties of the Office of Emergency Management to the Sheriff’s Department.
“We did not do that,” he said.
DiCianni, Zay, Krajewski and Tornatore voted to retain the sheriff’s stipend, but their colleagues outvoted them.
The vote on board member raises also sparked debate, with Tornatore pointing out that over the course of four years, the raise only amounted to about $10 per week, also pointing out that this particular board had cut expenses over the last several years at the same time it continued to provide the same services.
Board member John Curran said that the vote was not for a particular person, since elections would mean some of the members would be replaced.
But board member Sean Noonan noted that he voted against retaining the stipends and felt it would be inconsistent to vote for raises for the board. Board member Tony Michelassi said he was opposed in principle to voting for a raise for himself and board member Lauren Nowak said that while she was glad the stipends were eliminated, raises for board members with people still suffering from a soft economy was inappropriate.
“We have an opportunity to go farther today,” she said. “This is not Monopoly money.”
Public comment was mixed at the meeting.
Gail Tanzen said the board did a “good job,” and Judith Easton called the raises a “very level-headed decision.”
But Richard Dunne asked the board to consider “how are we really serving the board,” and suggested cutting board salaries to $30,000.
Jean Kaczmarek, candidate for county clerk in the November election, has long argued that the salaries of all the officials are too high, opposed all the raises, saying, “You have a chance to show you care about the bottom line so much that you’re willing to make a sacrifice.”
The new salary schedules, and the dissenting votes on the resolutions approving them, are:.
County Board chairman’s salary stays at $126,250 for fiscal years 2015-2016, before increasing to $128,479 in 2017 and $131,559 in 2018. Tonia Khouri, DiCianni, Noonan, Nowak, and Michelassi opposed the resolution that passed 11 to 5.
Board member’s salaries stay at $50,079 the first two years, increasing to $51,081 in 2017 and $52,103 in 2018; DiCianni, Khouri, Michelassi, Noonan, Nowak and Zay dissenting.
Regional educational superintendent salary remains at $31,835 for the first two years, increasing to $32,594 in 2017 and $33,246 in 2018; Khouri, Michelassi and Nowak dissenting. The superintendent also receives a salary of $109,463 from the state.
County clerk salary remains at $139,355 for the first two years, then increases to $142,632 in 2017 and $145,485 in 2018; Khouri, Michelassi, Nowak and Noonan dissenting.
County treasurer salary remains at $139,835 for the first two years, increasing to $142,632 in 2017 and $145,485 in 2018; Khouri, Michelassi, Noonan and Nowak dissenting.Tags: DuPage County