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The Big Dogs’ High-Fat Diet

A few days ago, we sent out an email blast detailing the extremely high compensation of some village Managers in suburban Chicago-land.

Here is an excerpt.

Using the Open the Books portal, you can do the research that brings the heat. Elected officials might just see the light. Last year in Palatine, the village manager took a 22% salary cut saving taxpayers $55,000. This was after we started showing citizens his pay package. Now, we’ve made transparency easy for you.

Now, we’ve made transparency easy for you. We found that;

  • 57 managers of our villages and cities out-earn every governor of the 50 states. The plum job is village manager of Grayslake- $259,252!
  • In 2011, the top municipal paycheck goes to the village attorney in Bellwood, $340,000, nearly doubling is $186,400 2009 salary.
  • The Lyons Township school district treasurer makes $295,703 spiked from $163,700 last year.
  • This illustrates one of the wonders of public employment in Illinois – the ability to artificially spike your pension with fat salary spikes.

    This prompted us to do a more detailed analysis on the top earner – Mike Ellis.

    You can read his contract here. We wrote up some analysis here.

    Perhaps most important is this graph.

    It isn’t just Mike Ellis. That graph looks the same for 1000s of state and local officials. The level of pay, and the number of people getting that level of pay, has expanded all over Illinois. We can’t afford it. Once their pensions kick in, no tax increases will meet the outflow from the pension funds. The only outflow will be people moving out of Illinois.

    That is why this isn’t a personal attack on high-earning public officials, it’s just that we can’t afford them anymore. Perhaps we need a state law capping the salaries of local officials. If they choose to ignore the cap, they can lose state revenue sharing.


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