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Proviso Probe

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What stories and issue are important to you?

Wednesday is the day most of the local papers are distributed. Any articles catch your interest?

Forest Park Review
Proviso Herald
Riverside/Brookfield Landmark
Suburban Life
West Suburban Journal

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4 Comments:

  • What's going on in Westchester? Who is leading the charge to change to the current form of goverment? Why can't the residents know who and where our elected leaders stand?

    By Anonymous looking for anwsers, at 6:22 AM, August 01, 2008  

  • would be very curious to know if any of the 'bobble head Board' have even seen this petition. I have, and I signed it. You actually insult the intellegence of the Westchester Registered Voters...and I hope they know it. The petition is being circulated BY THE PEOPLE of Westchester- who apparenty know more than the Board of Trustees. It is not being circulated with support of the village trustees. Please remember one very important fact: you 'trustees' were voted into office by us, the residents of Westchester. We do not need your support-it would be highly irregular if the very person you people fall all over to give raise upon raise, were the guy you were all trying to get rid of. That would make you look pretty stupid now wouldn't it? We entrusted our village to you -Bailey, Boyle,Buikema,Casey, Fox,Ryan. We trusted you to make the best decisions on our behalf. YOU FAILED. This petition cannot be controlled by the spin doctors on the board- who actually emailed registered voters and told them NOT to sign. Are you joking? Since when does an elected official email constituants and tell them NOT to sign a petition created by the VOTERS of Westchester? Isn't that crossing the line? Are we going to believe a board who continually negates the facts? Does anyone else wonder what the heck goes on behind closed doors? I do. I know for a fact justby asking some simple questions abiout what goes on. How about Mr. Dale Bogda? Does anyone with a conscience even realize what happened to him? He was there 40 years, dedicated- and guess what? Let go- no reason- no thanks, no insurance,nothing...Ignorance is bliss. And the Bobble heads just bobbed their heads? Hey- lets give another increase to the guy whose'very driven to do a good job' you should add- when he decides to actually work a full day that is, This man has completely unionized the village. yes, each AND EVERY DEPARTMENT has formed a union because of this guy and his Yes man. But 'he has done a brilliant job'.....who is kidding who here? The people are speaking bobble heads......I reccommend you listen. This is not a petition- This is up for ELECTION. Its on the ballet. So- let the spin doctors spin, and the bobble heads bob- but I hope the RESIDENTS SPEAK>>>>>>>>this is our town

    By Anonymous westchester family, at 11:07 PM, August 01, 2008  

  • Local townships vague about insurance costs

    Township officials soon will be voting on new salary and benefit packages for the next term of elected officials, but exactly how much taxpayers are paying these people isn't always written in black and white.

    Officials must follow state law that says compensation must be set 180 days before the beginning of the next term, which begins next spring.

    But "compensation" is not defined by the state statute. So when a taxpayer sees only salary figures, it does not reveal the total cost.

    According to Township Officials of Illinois' Web site, "any health insurance benefit provided is considered part of the compensation package and needs to be set at the same time salary for the position is set." It said there is case law that says if no salary is established, no salary may be paid.

    The same holds for insurance, pension and other benefits, said Jerry Crabtree, TOI's associate director. If it's not provided for at this time, they can't receive it, he said.

    "You can't increase your pay while in office," he said. "Insurance benefits cannot be added later."

    New Lenox Township taxpayers currently shell out $171,300 for salaries to all elected officials and pay 100 percent of insurance costs for the assessor and highway commissioner.

    'Vagueness of law'

    In 1993, the township board passed a resolution spelling out salaries for its supervisor, clerk, assessor, road commissioner and four trustees. The resolution also stated the township would contribute 7.5 percent of the salaries to a deferred compensation plan.

    The same was stated in the salary schedule set in 2000, but nothing was provided for in 1997 and 2004, even though the highway commissioner and assessor have continued to receive insurance and pension benefits all four terms.

    New Lenox township board attorney Cass Wennlund points to the vagueness of law to explain why it doesn't matter whether the amount spent on benefits is specifically spelled out in the resolution.

    "It's not clear what compensation is. If the Legislature wanted it to be spelled out, they should have spelled it out," he said. TOI says it should be included as a "fail-safe way" of doing business, he said. "You could take the safe route and include it, but what if you switched health plans?"

    TOI executive director Bryan Smith said as long as benefits are officially provided for, the plans can be changed mid-term.

    New package for New Lenox

    New Lenox Township Supervisor Bill McCollum said he doesn't know why benefits were not detailed in the compensation packages in 1997 and 2004, even though he has been on the board since 2001. The attorney always reviewed it, and "I assumed counsel was accurate," he said.

    McCollum now is working on a package with Trustee Mike Hickey, to be approved by the board this fall.

    "My intent is to do a formal resolution that would be very specific" and include salary and benefits, he said. "The package will be reflective of what is required and fair and equitable among similar townships."

    In Frankfort Township, Supervisor Jim Moustis said all elected officials are considered full time so they may be eligible to participate in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, but only the highway commissioner and assessor accept the benefits package, which also is the case in New Lenox.

    While it is difficult to say exactly how much these benefits cost, Moustis estimated taxpayers pay about $650 per month for an individual's health insurance, share in the cost for dependent coverage and pay 10 percent of the salary for pension benefits.

    Because the benefit package is "elective" and employee contributions fluctuate and rates vary, Moustis said he does not include details of it in the compensation package.

    Possible Monday vote

    At their Monday meeting, Homer Township officials may be voting on how much to pay their elected officials for the next four years. When they passed the last salary schedule in 2004, the resolution simply stated, "with continuing benefits."

    Township Supervisor Bud Fazio said he and the trustees do not take the insurance, but all the others do.

    In an effort to be fair and equitable, he's been calling other townships to see how much they pay.

    "It's very difficult. There is such a wide range of salaries," he said.

    What makes it more confusing is that all elected officials are considered full-time, but not all put in full-time hours, he said.

    In Homer Township, the current clerk does not want to work full time, even though her salary is based on full-time hours, he said.

    Susan DeMar Lafferty can be reached at slafferty@southtownstar.com or (708) 802-8805.

    A comparison of 2008 salaries

    HOMER TOWNSHIP

    Supervisor: $41,000

    Clerk: $39,000

    Highway commissioner: $49,000

    Assessor: $42,000

    Trustee: $6,200

    FRANKFORT TOWNSHIP

    Supervisor: $47,395

    Clerk: $10,327

    Highway commissioner: $75,791

    Assessor: $68,065

    Trustee: $6,000

    NEW LENOX TOWNSHIP

    Supervisor: $37,000

    Clerk: $19,000

    Highway commissioner: $57,500

    Assessor: $41,000

    Trustee: $4,200

    By Anonymous township bussiness, at 8:19 PM, August 03, 2008  

  • ms. coffee says: so I see by the fp review that proviso is once again paying Welch's legal bills. Parents..ask you kids what the class sizes at West and East are. I heard they're 35 and 40. Only PMSA got new teachers with few exceptions. Remember when the board floated the bond for PMSA? they said there would be improvements at west and east. Seems like West and East are the poor stepchildren now.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:07 PM, August 18, 2008  

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