Lake Zurich Mayor Thomas Poynton says the village manager has been doing so well in his job that he deserves a one-time bonus.
Poynton recommends the village board on Monday night approve the $10,000 payment to Jason Slowinski. Boosting the village's fiscal responsibility, improving technology, helping to create the Rock the Block street party and recruiting four top administrators are among 32 of Slowinski's accomplishments that Poynton listed for the past year.
"This is a guy who gets it," Poynton told the Daily Herald on Friday, "who is constantly working with the board and the mayor very closely."
He also noted Slowinski's work regarding the long-stalled effort to revitalize downtown Lake Zurich, considered a top issue in town since a special taxing zone was created in 2002. Slowinski, who was hired in 2012, helped craft a six-point downtown action plan during the 2013-14 budget season, the mayor said.
Trustee Jim Beaudoin said he plans to vote in favor of Slowinski's bonus. Beaudoin said his experiences as a business owner lead him to support incentive-based compensation.
He credited Slowinski with keeping Lake Zurich about $200,000 below projected expenditures in the 2013-14 budget, which ended April 30. He cited other achievements in the past year by Slowinski, such as the marketing of vacant buildings filled by three restaurants.
"It is my belief this level of success can only be accomplished with strong leadership and hard work," Beaudoin said. "Saving the residents $200,000 is one thing, but saving that amount of money while accomplishing all of the progress we have made is what I had hoped to see possible for my fellow residents and the future of Lake Zurich when I ran for office."
Slowinski, who was unavailable for comment, has a $152,942 base salary, but with fringe benefits the total compensation is $181,131 for the budget running through April 30, 2015. He received a $147,000 base salary when he joined Lake Zurich.
Poynton said the village can offer only small annual pay increases, so the one-time bonus would be a way to reward Slowinski, who had been acting city manager for two years in Des Plaines before accepting the Lake Zurich job.
"I don't know if we'll be able to do it (the stipend) every year," Poynton said.
Des Plaines officials lauded Slowinski for turning the city's deficit into a surplus and setting an example for employees by declining pay hikes for two consecutive years. He was hired by Des Plaines as assistant city manager in 2008.
Poynton said Slowinski's salary and benefits are not as much as some top administrators in towns similar to or smaller than Lake Zurich's nearly 20,000 in population.
With 20,900 residents, Grayslake will provide $254,649 in base salary and benefits to Village Manager Mike Ellis for the next year. Neighboring Kildeer, which has roughly 4,000 residents and a Rand Road business corridor, will pay $189,648 in total compensation to Chief Village Officer Michael Talbett.