County Board Pay and Benefits Questioned

As I was entering the County Board’s Finance Committee last Thursday, Mary McCann was proposing an amendment to the resolution setting members’ salaries.

The McHenry County Board's Finance Committee.

The McHenry County Board’s Finance Committee.

Instead of the flat rate of $21,000 a year, she proposed returning to the per diem approach with a maximum annual payment of $21,000.

Her reason was that some Board members were not attending meetings.

(Thanks to former member Ersel Schuster, the County Board now has a place where one can see you attends what meetings. Here’s the link. Unfortunately, the total number of meetings each member attends is not compiled at the bottom of the spreadsheet.)

“There are some inequities if you’re not on a lot of committees,” Chuck Wheeler pointed out.

Nick Provenzano wanted to know how members would be compensated for meeting “with others.”

At that point the discussion went to the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund pension for which members have been eligible.

McCann pointed out that IMRF did not cover such hours.

HR Cheryl Chukwu + Austin

HR Director Cheryl Chukwu + County Administrator Peter Austin

County Administrator Peter Austin explained that the hours for meetings counted and IMRF credited members with three hours for meeting preparation.

If I understood correctly, members can sign an affidavit for additional time that “undocumented, but real.”

Human Relations Director Cheryl Chukwu said that the County Board could pull members out of the pension program if the Board passed a resolution.

“Maybe we should give a chairman more compensation,” McCann suggested, ignoring the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Opinion saying that paying any County Board member other than the Chairman was not authorized by state law.

“I really think we need to have this discussion,” she continued.

Yvonne Barnes agreed.

“I fully support the need for this discussion,” she said, suggesting that the motion Thursday was too vague.

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