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Local News

Will County Board rejects pay raises for elected officials

JOLIET – The Will County Board on Thursday rejected pay raises for five countywide elected officials positions, which would have taken effect in December at the start of the next term.

Under the proposal, the positions of auditor, coroner, circuit clerk, recorder of deeds and county executive would have received a compounded 1 percent raise each year over a four-year period.

All positions currently earn a $93,116 annual salary.

Before the vote, Democratic Caucus Chair Herbert Brooks, D-Joliet, argued in favor of the raises.

“If we miss this opportunity, it will not come back around for two more years and I think we should be proactive right now. And secondly, it doesn’t affect anyone sitting in office right now,” Brooks said. “And thirdly, it has been 12 years since this County Board has voted for any increases.”

But Will County Board Speaker Jim Moustis, R-Frankfort, said the County Board needs to consider the total compensation package – including health and pension benefits – not just the base salary.

“I do think our elected officials are appropriately compensated,” Moustis said.

The Will County executive earns an additional $6,400 for serving as the county’s liquor commissioner – which was first set in 2004.

The position of Will County executive is unique to the county, so there are no comparisons in neighboring collar counties, but the remaining four county positions in Will County are lower in comparison to those in nearby McHenry, Lake and DuPage counties.

For comparison, the auditor, circuit clerk and recorder of deeds in DuPage County earn $139,835, plus $5,400 in other compensation.

McHenry, which has a smaller population, gives $104,750 to the positions of circuit clerk, coroner and recorder of deeds, according to county documents comparing salaries.

The votes were mostly down party lines with most Democrats voting for the raises and most Republicans voting against.

In other news, the County Board approved:

• Private pay rate increases at the county-owned Sunny Hill Nursing Home in Joliet

• $12.5 million contract with the Darien-based Wight & Co. for design and engineering services for the courthouse project

• Intergovernmental agreement with the city of Lockport to provide an electronics recycling drop-off site.

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