A flier that hit the mailboxes in Lake County Board District 23 is raising a ruckus between the candidates in the Highland Park and Lake Forest area.
Sent by challenger Carl Marcyan, a Republican from Lake Forest, it tells voters to "fire big spending" incumbent Anne Flanigan Bassi, a Democrat from Highland Park, over pay raises approved by the county board.
THE CLAIM: Marcyan's mailer says Anne Flanigan Bassi is "Another Career Politician Who Continues to Enjoy Her Own Payraise". That phrase is attributed, by footnote, to a May 12, 2004 Daily Herald story.
THE FACTS: Bassi was one of 13 board members who voted in favor of a 15 percent pay raise over four years, starting in 2004. Ten board members voted against the raise. Under its terms, board member pay rose from $33,000 annually in 2004, to 37,856 annually in 2008. Since then, most board salaries have increased to $40,945. In 2004, board members also voted against accepting a $6,000 stipend that would have been handed out annually beginning in 2007. The Daily Herald story reported the board members' votes, but did not contain any of the comments used in the mailer despite the footnote indicating the remarks appeared in the article.
BASSI: She said her vote in favor of the 15 percent pay increase came after she said she would vote against a 24 percent increase proposed by board members. She also said, after the economy worsened in 2008, she turned down her latest raise in 2009 that reduced her salary to $39,809. She also voted to have the Lake County Board freeze salaries at their current level in 2011 and 2012. "While I did vote in favor of the raises when the economy was better in 2004, I have ensured our belt was tightened due to the tough economic times."
MARCYAN: He said freezing raises isn't enough, and would like to see Bassi forego pay for her role on the county board. "It's not enough to just not take a pay raise, they should be willing to either take a pay reduction or no pay, at least on a temporary basis." He said he will not accept pay "for this part-time job" if elected to the board Nov. 2.