Kane County panel says sheriff, clerk, treasurer deserve pay raises

An advisory committee recommended Monday that the salaries of the Kane County sheriff, clerk and treasurer should be increased by 5% and by 2% per year after that. But the panel says compensation for the county board members should remain at $25,000.

The recommendations were made by the Elected Official Compensation Review Community Advisory Committee. The panel members are former St. Charles Mayor Susan Klinkhamer, Hampshire Village President Michael Reid, and Mike Lee, president CEO of the Kane County Teachers Credit Union.

Kane County Board Chair Corinne Pierog said the county board's executive committee will review the recommendations before the county board makes a final decision.

The county board sets the compensation for whoever is elected in November.

Currently, the clerk and treasurer are paid $100,000, and the salary for the sheriff is $124,750. If the pay raise recommendation is accepted, the clerk and treasurer would get $5,000 more, and the sheriff would get $6,237 more.

Pierog said this is an opportunity to review the compensation for county board members and countywide elected officials whose terms are up this year.

"That will be set for four years," Pierog said regarding the countywide positions.

Lee said he works for a nonprofit in the county and represents about 20,000 members.

"When I saw the information, it kind of appalled me that the county is not taking care of the people that I depend upon every day to keep me safe ... to do the basic functions that I, as a citizen, see as my right, living in this county."

He said it is tough to hire quality employees and keep them.

"I think it's more than fair that these people (sheriff, clerk and treasurer) should have an adjustment," Lee said. "It's not big - 5%. I did the math, and it's only about $16,000. If you want to stay in this job market, you have to take care of people."

Klinkhamer said they are addressing the issue of people who have not gotten a raise in years.

"One thing about elected officials, you're stuck," Klinkhamer said. "You don't get a raise at a certain time, you're stuck with that salary for years sometimes, as we've seen here."

Reid said settling the countywide elected officials' salaries once every four years is unfair.

"I look at it from a public safety perspective, only," Reid said. "I look at the job of the Kane County sheriff, and I look at ... what other police chiefs are being paid."

Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain said he has deputies that make more than he does with just a little overtime.

"It takes a constant, 24-hour commitment to deliver what we've done over the last three-plus years," Hain stated in a text.

Hain cited an 89% decrease in opioid overdose deaths, a 35% decrease in the jail population, a 35% decrease in jail violence, and a 40% decrease in workmen's compensation claims. He also says there's been a 16% decrease in crime.

"Kane County needs to properly compensate those who do the work that keep us ahead of the curve," he said. "Otherwise, we fall far behind all those who do the work."

County Clerk Jack Cunningham said he has not had a raise for 17 years.

Treasurer Michael Kilbourne was on vacation and unavailable to comment.

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