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updated: 8/20/2013 4:06 PM

Pay cuts coming for DuPage forest commissioners, president

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DuPage County Forest Preserve commissioners elected in November 2014 will be paid nearly $3,000 less than current members and the next forest preserve president will be paid roughly $37,000 less than the current president.

Commissioners unanimously approved the salary cuts Tuesday morning but did not address pension or medical benefits nor the vehicle stipend received by the board president.

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Effective with the 2014 election, commissioners' annual salaries will be cut from $53,500 to $50,000 -- the same amount DuPage County Board members receive.

The next president's salary, meanwhile, was set at $75,000. President Dewey Pierotti currently receives $112,258 in his position. He already has announced he will not seek re-election next year.

"I think it's a good step forward, lowering the salaries," Commissioner Mary Lou Wehrli said. "But I think it's unfortunate we haven't included, in a compensation ordinance, all of the compensation commissioners and the president receive, including the IMRF option, car reimbursement, as well as insurance options."

Wehrli said she still hopes to discuss those benefits down the road, "but this is a good start and I welcome it."

The district currently pays 85 percent of medical and 80 percent of dental costs for all full-time employees and commissioners. The president also receives a $3,000 annual vehicle stipend.

Commissioner Joe Cantore, who most recently championed the salary reductions, said he agrees the other perks, including benefits for commissioners and the stipend for the president, "need to be addressed."

"Lowering the salaries and creating that savings of $55,000 a year was an important first step we needed to get out the way first," Cantore said Tuesday. "Now that the salary issue is finished we can focus on these things, but they needed to be done separate."

Commissioner Shannon Burns is the only commissioner who doesn't take the district's medical insurance. She and Wehrli haven't signed up for the pension.

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