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updated: 10/19/2011 6:08 PM

McHenry County Board freezes own salaries starting in 2012

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The McHenry County Board approved 3-percent raises for nonunion county employees on Tuesday that go into effect Dec. 1.

The county's 900 or so nonunion employees last received a raise in December 2009, County Administrator Peter Austin said. In June, the board rejected a plan to give them a 2-percent increase.

Altogether, the raises account for about $556,000 of the county's $254 million budget, he said.

Most people in the private sector haven't received increases in the last three years, said board member Ersel Schuster, who voted against the measure. "I have yet to have anyone tell me that they want the county board to raise their real estate taxes anymore or to give their employees raises," she said.

The board also implemented a four-year salary freeze for county board members and certain elected officials. By law, board members cannot set their own salaries.

Board members make $19,755 or $20,181 depending on when they were elected; Vice Chairman John Jung Jr.'s salary is $24,755 and Chairman Ken Koehler's is $79,063.

From Dec. 1 to Dec. 1, 2012, all will get a cost-of-living increase, a decision made by the board when salaries last were set.

The pay freeze will start Dec. 1, 2012, when county board members' salaries will be equalized at $21,500, Austin said. The freeze also will apply to the county auditor, the clerk of the circuit court, the coroner and the recorder, all of whom currently make $100,709 per year.

Mileage reimbursement at 51 cents per mile will continue to be available to board members, but personal judgment should be used, county board member Mary Donner said. "If you live in Port Barrington, that's a long trip," she said.

Board member Schuster's proposal to implement a per-diem salary based on meeting attendance was voted down. "We have so many board members who are not making meetings, basically ignoring the responsibilities that they were elected to uphold," Schuster said.

On Monday, the management services committee will discuss posting online a record of board members' meeting attendance, Schuster said.

The treasurer and county clerk are paid $103,802, and the sheriff's salary is $145,662; they will get cost-of-living increases through fiscal year 2014 as previously decided by the board.

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