Facing reelection, Kane County Board shuns raises, but others get pay hikes
There will be no added financial benefits to being a Kane County Board member, but votes this week did lock in the board's health insurance perk and gave raises to the sheriff, clerk and treasurer.
Kane County Board members voted down a plan that would have given them 2% annual raises starting this December and running through December 2025. Board members receive a $25,000 annual salary. Under the plan, that salary would have increased to $27,060 in 2025.
It would have marked the first pay increase for the board in more than a decade.
With all 24 county board seats on the ballot this year, board members shunned a move that would have provided political ammunition for challengers in both the June primary and November general election.
"I fear that the proposed raise of 2% is just enough to get the voters mad and not enough to make any real difference," said county board member Ken Shepro. "We all knew what the job paid when we ran for it."
The push for raises failed by a 20-4 vote. Board members Mavis Bates, Dale Berman, Michelle Gumz and Cherryl Strathmann voted "yes."
"For far too long, the county board, as a position itself, has not gotten a raise," Gumz said. "Is this position not appreciated?"
In a related vote, the board rejected a push to remove full health insurance benefits from county board members. The insurance package is worth an additional $25,000 a year for board members on the family plan.
Taxpayers cover 83% of the cost of the plan for board members. Thirteen of the 24 board members opt into either the health or dental insurance perk.
The benefit has been labeled as "corruption" by board member Mo Iqbal because board seats are considered part-time positions, at 30 hours per week.
"The ire of the voters is something that is never far from our minds," said board member Mark Davoust. "I voted 'no' to the pay increase, but I object to the notion that this is a part-time job. If it is, it's the busiest part-time job I've ever had. When I ran for this job I didn't know it compensated anything. But I still like to be appreciated. Let it stand where it is."
Other board members said if documentation of those hours were required, there would be few board members who spend more than 30 hours per month on their county board jobs, let alone 30 hours per week.
Only two board members, Iqbal and David Brown, voted to remove the benefit.