Downers Grove approves pay raises for elected officials

 
 
Updated 5/5/2021 4:29 PM

The Downers Grove village council voted Tuesday to more than double the salaries of the mayor and elected commissioners. But the pay increases won't take effect until after the next two election cycles in 2023 and 2025.

Each of the six village commissioners currently receive $2,400 a year, and the mayor is paid $4,800 annually. The increased annual salaries will be $10,000 for the mayor and $5,000 for commissioners.

 

The amended salaries ordinance also allows for annual increases "in an amount typical to the raise of village employees who are not subject to collective bargaining agreements."

Outgoing Commissioner Marge Earl, who lost her reelection bid on April 6, proposed the salary increases during the April 20 village council meeting.

Earl said the last time the council approved raises for the mayor and commissioners was in the late 1990s.

"I just thought it was time," she said.

Earl also mentioned the financial difficulties for some elected officials to balance their full-time jobs and family life with the duties of being a Downers Grove official.

"It's hard to get a babysitter if you've got kids and come up and do this," Earl said. "You'd be losing money."

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Mayor Bob Barnett also spoke in favor of the salary increases.

"This is not something somebody does because they need a job," Barnett said. "It also is structured in such a way that nobody up here is giving themselves a raise unless the village citizens reelect them -- kind of an important distinction."

The mayor and commissioners up for reelection in 2023 would not receive the increased salaries until after they are sworn in.

Newly elected commissioners Chris Gilmartin and Danny Glover, plus reelected Commissioner Greg Hosé, will not receive the $5,000 salary, plus any annual increases for other commissioners starting in 2023, unless they are reelected in 2025.

"There is a real cost to this. Everybody here does it out of service to their community," Barnett said. "This is an effort to try and recognize those very real costs and make it so that those are not prohibitive for somebody wanting to serve."

The future pay increases ordinance was unanimously passed Tuesday, which was also the final piece of legislation voted on by outgoing commissioners Earl and Cavanaugh Gray. The council then adjourned and reconvened to swear in the newly elected commissioners Gilmartin and Glover, plus the reelected Hosé.

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