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updated: 2/28/2012 11:32 PM

$70,000 salary just fine, water district candidates say

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  • Patricia Horton

      Patricia Horton

  • Stella Black

      Stella Black

  • Kari Steele

      Kari Steele

  • Patricia Young D

      Patricia Young D

  • Debra Shore

      Debra Shore

  • Patrick Daley Thompson

      Patrick Daley Thompson

  • Video: What the MWRD does

 
 

It's considered a part-time job but it pays $70,000 plus health care and pension benefits.

Nearly all of the six Democrats running for three positions on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District board in the March 20 primary election say the salary is appropriate.

The candidates include Chicagoans Stella Black, 70, Patricia Horton, 55, Kari Steele, 36, and Patrick Daley Thompson, 42; Evanston resident Debra Shore, 59; and Patricia Young, 56, of LaGrange Park.

Thompson, an attorney and nephew of former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, said the job "would be my full-time focus whatever the established salary is." He did not put a number of how many hours he would commit to the position.

Regarding the $70,000 figure, Thompson said, "we will have to look at it and see if that is the right number ... in today's economic climate. Everything should be on the table."

Young, a former MWRD commissioner and employee, said she couldn't accept the salary because she is eligible for a pension from the district.

But "it's not a part-time job," she said. "It's what you make of it."

Young pledged to work about 40 hours a week.

Regarding the salary, incumbent Horton said, "I don't think that's a whole lot. The district has not had an increase in salary for about 20 years.

"Given that it's Cook County, we cover a lot of ground when it comes to disseminating information and responding to communities," Horton said. "I believe I've spent a lot of time making myself available and outreaching to the community."

Black, a property tax consultant, said "any part-time job I've had has been full-time."

If elected, Black said she would take the salary but didn't want the benefits. Black committed to working at least eight hours a day as commissioner.

Steele, a chemist at L'Oreal USA, promised to give "100 percent" if elected. "It will be a full-time job," she said. "It's a huge county; there's several treatment plants. I would be the type of elected official that makes sure I represent all of Cook County."

She promised to devote 55 hours a week to the position.

Incumbent Shore, a Chicago Wilderness magazine founding editor, said she works full time as commissioner. "There's plenty of work to do and I see that growing," she said. "I think it's reasonable for a billion-dollar agency to provide that oversight."

Shore spends "at least 40 hours" a week on the job.

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