DuPage County OKs pay raises for elected officials

  • DuPage County Board member Elizabeth Chaplin says this is not an appropriate time to approve pay raises for some board members.

    DuPage County Board member Elizabeth Chaplin says this is not an appropriate time to approve pay raises for some board members.

  • DuPage County Board member Sam Tornatore says proposed raises for some board members is "about telling our community that we do our jobs."

    DuPage County Board member Sam Tornatore says proposed raises for some board members is "about telling our community that we do our jobs."

 
 

A dozen DuPage County Board members will get 2 percent annual pay increases over the next two years to keep them in line with what their colleagues are scheduled to receive.

But they won't get raises for fiscal 2019 and 2020.

Meanwhile, several countywide officials will get annual 2 percent pay hikes during each of the next four years.

All the raises were approved Tuesday when the county board set pay scales for the auditor, coroner, recorder, circuit court clerk and 12 county board members for the fiscal years from 2017 through 2020. All the positions are up for election in November.

Elizabeth Chaplin and Tony Michelassi, the only two Democrats on the board, cast dissenting votes. Chaplin, one of those who will benefit from the raises if she's re-elected, has argued that DuPage board members already are paid more than board members in Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will counties. DuPage board members now make $50,079 a year and that will increase to $51,081 in December. Board members also are eligible to receive health insurance and a pension through the county.

Will County Board members, meanwhile, are paid $23,000 a year.

"I just don't think at this time that this is an appropriate thing to do," Chaplin said.

Supporters, however, argued the raises are proper because other county board members already are scheduled to get 2 percent bumps for fiscal 2017, which starts Dec. 1, and for fiscal 2018.

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"I do think it's appropriate that we make sure everybody on the board is compensated at the same level," said board member Robert Larsen, who then suggested the pay be frozen for fiscal 2019 and 2020.

Board member Sam Tornatore said the pay increases are "ceremonial."

"This raise isn't about money," Tornatore said. "It's about telling our community that we do our jobs. And quite frankly, if we don't deserve a 2 percent increase, we shouldn't be sitting here."

As for the countywide officials, the auditor, coroner and recorder each make $139,835 a year. Starting in December, they each will receive $142,632 a year. In addition, the annual salary for the circuit court clerk will increase from $155,958 to $159,077.

All four countywide officials get a $6,500 annual stipend from the Illinois Department of Revenue. In addition, countywide elected officials in DuPage get a $450 per month vehicle allowance from the county.

State law requires the salaries of county board members and countywide elected officials to be established at least 180 days before the beginning of their terms.

State's Attorney Robert Berlin is up for re-election this year, but the amount of his annual salary is determined by the state, officials said. He is paid $166,508 a year.

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