- A resolution calling for raises for the county offices on the ballot in the November general election encountered opposition from several board members.
The resolution calls for salaries of four offices — circuit clerk, recorder, coroner and auditor — to start at $60,980, an increase from the $59,200 the county officials currently receive. Each official would then receive a 3 percent increase each of the four years, bringing the totals to $66,650 for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.
Under the resolution, the county board chairman’s salary will also be bumped up, going from $61,700 to $65,000.
The resolution passed 15-7, the closest vote of the night.
Gary Weinard of District 1 said the raises are appropriate given the job the officeholders have done holding the line for the county budget and returning unused money from their office budgets.
“It’s a way of saying you’ve done a good job,” he said.
Several board members disagreed. District 3’s Rick Knight, who has said he received calls from several residents against the resolution, argued that is part of the duty of the office, not a reason for a raise.
“I agree they’ve done a good job, but that is their job — being good stewards with the taxpayers’ money,” he said.
District 3’s Steve Fourez agreed, questioning the process in which the county determined the raises.
“Too much is made of how good a job someone’s done in the past,” he said.
Knight had said prior to Tuesday’s meeting the county’s economic status did not allow for such an increase.
In addition to board members, one local resident — Bob Randall of Danville — stepped up to speak out against the proposed raises.
“We need to restore fiscal responsibility,” Randall told board members. He pointed that with the 3 percent raises, many of the labor unions that negotiate with the county will expect similar raises.
Statutes dictate the salaries for almost all of the county offices are set every four years. The deadline to approve the salaries is 180 days from Dec. 1 — the day office holders begin a new term. The salary for the state’s attorney — which also is on the county November election ballot — is set by the State of Illinois — which is supposed to pay a portion of the salary.
A new salary structure will begin for county board members with the next fiscal year as well. A previous per diem structure will be replaced by a flat fee of $250 per month for the 26 board members. The board members will be docked $50 for each unexcused absence from board or committee meetings.