Rosemont mayor's salary to rise to $260,000 a year next May

Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens will be in line for a 53 percent pay raise if he is re-elected in April, the village board decided Wednesday.

The board unanimously approved salary increases for village elected officials, which includes Stephens' projected new annual salary of $260,000, effective May 2017. Stephens, mayor since 2007, plans to run for re-election next April.

"I'm not great at patting myself on the back, but I work hard at what I do," Stephens said Wednesday.

A village committee appointed to examine how Rosemont officials' compensation compares with other towns' determined Stephens was "substantially undercompensated" when his job duties and functions were compared to administrators in other towns, said Peter Coblentz, the village attorney, in a memo.

The committee included Coblentz, village financial advisers Merrill Ring and Stephen Hoopes, and the village's finance and human resources directors.

A study commissioned by the committee in 2012 found the average salary for village administrators in 39 comparable towns was $175,645. Stephens currently receives a base salary of $170,000, which includes $25,000 for serving as local liquor commissioner.

The committee in 2012 recommended the higher salary for Stephens, who they say also handles the responsibilities of economic development director, but Stephens chose to defer action on the recommendation before his re-election in 2013.

Mayors and village presidents in most suburban towns are part-time positions, and village boards hire professional administrators to handle day-to-day operations. But Rosemont doesn't have a village manager, and despite its size, the village operates in a similar fashion to a strong-mayor form of government typically found in large cities.

By comparison, Stephens' nephew, Christopher Stephens, is paid $250,000 a year as executive director of the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.

Pat Nagle, executive director of the Allstate Arena, is paid $245,000 a year.

The mayor's other nephew, Donald Stephens III, is paid $180,000 a year as public safety department chief.

Those positions are appointed, not elected.

The mayor of Chicago, also full time, makes $216,210 a year, but that salary hasn't been raised in many years. Most of the part-time mayors in the area make under $50,000.

The village board Wednesday also approved a 15 percent raise for Village Clerk Debbie Drehobl, pending her re-election in April. The clerk's annual salary will go from $65,640 to $75,640, accounting for her responsibilities for official record-keeping and increasing duties complying with open records laws, according to the committee.

Drehobl also serves as the mayor's full-time secretary.

The six village trustees voted to maintain their own salaries at $30,000 a year, which the 2012 compensation study found to be "in the upper range" compared with salaries of elected trustees in other municipalities. In addition to public events in town, trustees annually attend 12 village board meetings, which often last 15 minutes or less.

The new salaries go into effect next May, when new terms of office begin.

Rosemont's elected officials voted themselves pay raises starting in May 2017, including a 53 percent raise for Mayor Brad Stephens, should he win re-election. Courtesy of Village of Rosemont, January 2016
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