Naperville mayor, 3 council members accept pay hikes

 
 
Updated 6/9/2011 12:12 AM

Five of the eight Naperville City Council members have pledged to forgo a 2.7 percent pay increase this year.

Mayor George Pradel and Councilmen Doug Krause, Bob Fieseler and Paul Hinterlong will accept the increase, and each says he is justified in doing so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

All eight Naperville City Council members, who make between $11,413 and $11,687 per year, are in line for a 2.7 percent increase, according to the city code, which matches pay rate with the rate of inflation for the Chicago area. In addition, the city contributes between $11,000 and $18,000 to the health care plan of six councilmen and the same six receive about $100 per month for Internet and cellphone usage.

Pradel, who makes $28,533, including his liquor commission salary, is also in line for the increase and plans to take it.

"I declined the raise last year in solidarity with the council members with hopes that others in the city would follow our example but not everyone got the message," Pradel said Wednesday afternoon.

"But I'm taking the raise this year because all I do is give, give, give to this city."

Pradel said the increase he receives will quickly be put back into the city economy.

"If there's a lunch, I pay out of my pocket. If someone else pays, I leave the tip. If there's a raffle or door prize I buy tickets," he said. "So this increase will help with that."

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Krause also said Wednesday that he would be accepting the raise, bringing his salary up to about $12,000.

"Yes, I'll be taking the 85-cent per day increase," Krause said. "I've never turned in a single expense report and I use my own car for city business so I don't regret accepting the increase."

Fieseler and Hinterlong, the two council members who decline health care coverage and the $1,200 annual stipend, will also be taking the raise.

"It's disingenuous for those declining the raise to do that while taking the health care coverage," Fieseler said. "That's like saying, 'Hey, I'll take $25 a month here while I take a couple thousand a month through the back door.'"

Hinterlong agreed, calling himself his constituents' "best bang for the buck" on the city council.

"Even with the raise, I'm as cheap as they come," Hinterlong said.

Those declining the increase are Joe McElroy, Judy Brodhead, Kenn Miller, Grant Wehrli and Steve Chirico.

Chirico, who entered the position at the full salary of $11,687 because he was not on the council to decline the raise last year, said taking the increase would send the wrong message.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"We've got employees still working under the conditions of a pay freeze so there's no way I could accept the increase," Chirico said. "It's a small amount but taking it would not be the right thing to do."

Brodhead agreed, calling the move "more symbolic than anything else."

Council members had until 5 p.m. Wednesday to inform the city's finance director of their decision.