Carpentersville is so serious about getting its employees fit that it is issuing reimbursements to those who get involved in wellness activities.
Tuesday, the village board approved $50 reimbursements for each of the 11 employees taking part in the village's "Biggest Loser" contest.
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Those employees are: Village Manager J. Mark Rooney, Acting Police Chief Michael Kilbourne, Fire Chief John Schuldt, Public Works Director Bob Cole, Capital Projects Manager Ed Szydlowski, Assistant Fire Chief John Skillman, public works employee Felice Grandinetti and police officers Erman Blevens, Barb Rowley, Michael Salvaggio and Morgan Brown.
It cost $105 to participate. Everyone's $5 goes to the "biggest loser" and the rest of the money is split among the contestants who lose 10 percent of their weight over 13 weeks, said Linda Mogren, the village's human resources director.
The contest started in January and ends in April.
"It's just a fun way, we thought, would help allow people to reach their goal through some fun and friendly competition," Mogren said.
As part of its wellness program, the village has pledged to reimburse half of the entry fees -- up to $50 -- for races, bike rides and other activities, Mogren said. Her department is developing other wellness activities, like offering flu shots, health screenings and running educational seminars during lunch about eating right and exercising. The idea is to keep employees moving and educated.
Ultimately, healthy employees mean fewer sick days and lower insurance costs, Mogren said.
Szydlowski, another contestant, the contest's coordinator and a wellness committee member, said the program has been highly successful so far because everyone has been losing weight.
Kilbourne has dropped 10 pounds so far, but admits to trying to sabotage his police comrades by dropping candy bars in their mailboxes, "to wish them well," he joked.
All kidding aside, he said, he now understands the important role eating plays in losing weight and that exercising is not enough. His goal is to shed 30 pounds.
"Hey, I could lose some weight and the village came out with the competition and I felt with a lot of things when you have group support, you're more likely to be successful at it," Kilbourne said.