Learn More Open the Books

“Vexatious” Citizen Scales Back Palatine Perquisites

By Adam Andrzejewski
CEO, For The Good of Illinois
March 21, 2011

Nothing short of heroism is chronicled below.

A courageous citizen demands accountability from his hometown and wins tens of thousands in savings for taxpayers.

Last fall, a resident of Palatine started questioning his municipality. His interest was piqued because property taxes were hiked, village fees were hiked, a brand-new electric consumption tax was instituted and officials were complaining that the red-light cameras were not producing enough ticket revenue. Then, the village manager forecast a future of higher taxes in his annual letter.

The resident just wanted to know a simple answer: the total 2009 compensation of the village manager. The inquiry was arduous. The results were stunning. The entire cash and non-cash compensation package amounted to an initial estimate of $351,000, then revised to $355,000, and click to review the now re-revised estimate of $338,400 plus.

In 2009, on base salary alone, the village manager out-earned every governor of the 50 states. Overall, there were over twenty “buckets” of compensation including a $35,000 cash bonus, taxpayer funded car, and five insurance programs: 90% paid medical, dental, prescription, life and short/long term disability. A sixth insurance program was discovered- taxpayers were funding long-term care insurance. LT care insurance provides for custodial care in a private home, adult daycare setting, assisted-living facility, or nursing home.

Annually, the village manager was “buying back” unused vacation days for an additional $10,400 of comp. The contract provided complete legal insulation beyond that required by federal, state, and local law. Stunning perquisites like taxpayer funded health club dues. In addition to the village payment into the pension plan ($21,500), an additional deferred compensation retirement plan payment of $14,500. A severance package equal to a full year of base salary, insurances, and car package is triggered if ANY of his financial compensation was reduced on an individual basis.

In reaction to the local and national scrutiny, the village has temporarily scaled back some of the Palatine Perquisites. For 2011, the village manager’s contract has approximately $45,400 of “forgoes”. These mutually agreed temporary adjustments are not permanent strike-outs. For 2012, the manager doesn’t even have to negotiate the “forgoes” back into his contract- they are already in place. There are $1,400 of permanent deletions and an oral promise to delete $5,700 more.

-Temporary “forgoes” include the 2010 $35,000 bonus (payable in 2011), and the 2011 “cashing in” of vacation days (saving approx $10,400). As discussed, these benefits are not deleted from the 2011 contract, just a mutually agreed rescission for one year. Click to review 2009 contract and 2011 contract.

-Permanently deleted from the contract is the health club membership (saving $1,400/annually).

-Promised future savings include the disability and long term care insurances (approx savings $5,700). In a meeting with the manager and mayor, both orally promised that these premiums will not be taxpayer funded any longer. However, the 2011 contract does not reflect this.

For contract year 2011, citizen scrutiny has saved taxpayers $45,400 in temporary “forgoes” of compensation. Permanent contractual savings is minimal: $1,400 (health club). An oral promise to save the $5,700 (disability and care insurance) has been made.

Even under intense local and national spotlight, Palatine hasn’t reformed. When the citizen pressure comes off, most all the compensation package returns. Palatine is “waiting out” real reform. Therefore, even after over 50 hours of study, consultation with private sector executive management consultants, and a sit down meeting with the mayor and manager, our latest compensation valuation is still not completely accurate.

In fact, Palatine hasn’t even released all the relevant public information. Palatine refuses to release the taxpayer liability regarding the village managers accumulated sick days. The freedom of information act request (FOIA) was rejected. Other towns in Lake County fulfilled this request. For this manager, we anticipate that taxpayers are on the hook for $10’s of thousands of additional comp.

A simple solution exists, Palatine must “Open the Books”.

Leave a Comment

6 Responses to "“Vexatious” Citizen Scales Back Palatine Perquisites"

  1. Comment by James Pawelko on March 23, 2011 at 9:20 am said:

    Adam Andrzejewski should be ‘knighted’ for doing what is necessary to expose what is going on in local government fiscal policies and wage pollicies. Keep up the good work.

  2. Comment by Jim Osterhout on March 23, 2011 at 1:00 pm said:

    It is staggering to learn that the village manager of Palatine, our town of 70,000 people, earns more than the governor of California – population 37,000,000 – the governor of Texas – population 25,000,000- and the governornor of New York – population 19 million. He must be doing one dynamic job for us. Somehow, I fail to see any results from the 24 hour days he must be putting in on our behalf.

  3. Comment by David Jenkins on March 24, 2011 at 5:18 pm said:

    When is the protest in Palatine?

  4. Comment by Patrick Gleason on April 11, 2011 at 3:33 pm said:

    Seemingly a continuously “crooked” town, have you looked into the One Million Dollar contribution to the building of new Harley Davidson Dealership in Palatine?
    Could you investigate a funding of $280,000,000.00 (Yes, that’s Two Hundred Eighty Million!) to a company by the name of DentaQuest out of Mequon WI? This is the amount that Illinois taxpayers have contracted with this firm for State Worker Dental Healthcare. Seems rather attrocious to me! See what you can find out about that, Adam.

  5. Pingback by Liberty Leaders Use FOIA to Discover Extreme Government Compensation | Liberty Leaders on June 3, 2011 at 3:22 pm said:

    […] into the compensation of the Village Manager for his hometown.  There he revealed all sorts of “perquisites” and cushy benefits and the total bill to the taxpayers is astonishing. Last fall, a resident of […]

  6. Comment by Bob Sommers on September 23, 2013 at 2:53 am said:

    It’s exciting to see this type of bureaucratic abuse starting to be exposed. People have complained about CEO compensation in the private sector, while they pay these public bureaucratic abusers extravagent sums. This is the more important question in my view. If the village manager of this small town can pull in this much, think how much the public is getting ripped off around the country every year. I’ve heard about the lifeguards in Huntington Beach, California making $100, 000 and retiring at 50 to collect even more. How did this happen?
    The first step is to expose this abuse and to get it out in the public.
    This is a great step.