At the county board meeting on Thursday, the members discussed salary increases for themselves, the county clerk, the sheriff, and the county treasurer. Spoiler alert: there will be no raises for at least the next two years. And I'm ok with that. I'm not applying for this job to get rich.
But I'll tell ya what really grates my craw.
During the board's discussion on Thursday, district 11 incumbent Chuck Maher had the cahones to proclaim that serving on the county board is "community service" and that it's "nice" that board members "get a few dollars" for it.
But here's the kicker: Chuck gets more than a "few dollars." Chuck gets a 50% LARGER salary than almost everyone else on the board: he gets an extra $1034 a month because he takes a pension (for his county board service), meaning that instead of $23,000 annually, Chuck gets a little over $35,000.
Chuck Maher, the incumbent from district 11, is currently getting a PENSION for serving on the county board, WHILE he serves on the county board. How is this possible, you might ask? Totally legal, because they nixed the pension program a few years back, so that had the same effect as people retiring. If they are of age, they can take the pension.
Fine, it's legal. And, in fairness, the Republican challengers who beat Chuck in the primary brought this to light and it's probably the number one reason that Chuck lost. So he won't be back after November.
But Chuck isn't the worst offender. That prize goes to the county board speaker, Republican Jim Moustis, district 2 (Frankfort). Moustis has been on the county board for 26 years and, in addition to his annual $23,000 salary, he gets $6651 a month from his county board pension. In other words, his pension, at almost $80,000 annually, is nearly FOUR TIMES as much as his salary his for the county board. (Chicago Tribune, 02/28/2018)*
I don't begrudge people who have invested their life in serving their communities of a pension. But to call yourself "fiscally responsible" while happily raking in that much dough... #SMH And to add insult to injury by keeping other people from earning more, under the guise of fiscal responsibility? It's just not right.
I sincerely hope that if one or both of my Republican challengers wins a seat representing district 11 in November that they will call Moustis to task, as they did to Maher. I'll be watching them, and I hope you will be, too.
Meanwhile, please support Amanda Koch, who is running against Moustis in district 2. Amanda is a 12-year Army veteran and a military wife. She's also a nice person and super smart. https://www.amandaforwillcounty.com/
*Two other current board members are taking a pension: Tom Weigel, Republican, district 12, receives $806 per month on top of his regular county board pension. Jackie Traynere, Democrat, district 4, receives $485 per month.