Des Plaines City Manager Mike Bartholomew is getting his first raise since being appointed more than a year and a half ago to oversee day-to-day city operations.
The city council voted 5-4 Monday night to award Bartholomew a 5 percent raise retroactive to April 21, bringing his base salary up to $155,852.
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Mayor Matt Bogusz cast the tie breaking vote to award the 5 percent raise. Aldermen Jim Brookman, Patricia Haugeberg, Dick Sayad and Mark Walsten were in favor of giving Bartholomew a 3 percent raise.
"I'm not aware of anybody in the city that's received a 5 percent raise -- anybody," Walsten said. "I think 3 percent is a little bit more in touch with the people who work for the city of Des Plaines."
The pay bump is the result of Bartholomew's performance evaluations with the city council that took place over the course of several closed session meetings, Bogusz said.
The mayor said since Bartholomew was appointed in April 2012, he has been one of the lowest-paid city managers, relative to peer communities in the North and Northwest suburbs.
Bartholomew, 51, came to Des Plaines as the city's economic development director in December 2010, then was promoted to city manager when Jason Slowinski became village manager in Lake Zurich.
Bogusz pointed to Bartholomew's "leadership through trying times" in responding to lawsuits faced by the police department, and strategic planning and budgeting processes.
Bartholomew said it had been a goal of his to "clean the whole perception of the police department," starting with the hiring of a chief from outside the department's ranks: Bill Kushner, the former Lakemoor police chief.
And Bartholomew also recommended the city hire outside legal counsel instead of an in-house attorney, which he says is already paying dividends.
He cited the example of a dispute with former police Sgt. Matthew R. Thomas, formerly known as Matthew Hicks, who brought a suit against the city in 2012, arguing he was owed more money as part of a settlement with the city that resulted in his discharge. Bartholomew said a judge determined the lawsuit was frivolous and ordered Thomas to pay the city's legal fees.
"I think we need to change the culture that if you file a lawsuit, it's not going to be an easy payday," Bartholomew said.
Still on the to-do list, Bartholomew said, is looking into an alternative city water source in light of Chicago's increasing rates, economic development initiatives, and a city marketing and branding project.
The city council is set to evaluate Bartholomew's job performance again next spring.