Raises for Will County officials off the table
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY email@example.com April 17, 2014 7:46PM
Herb Brooks Jr. from St. John's Church is seen in a handout photo from Joliet, IL on Wednesday November 28, 2012. Will County Board member Herbert Brooks Jr. is pastor of St. John's Missionary Baptist Church in Joliet. And he's in line to become the leader/chairman of the board this month as Democrats have the new majority following the Nov. 6, 2012, election. | Supplied photo~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 19, 2014 2:27PM
Salaries of all elected Will County officials will remain frozen after the county board on Thursday failed to bring the issue to a vote.
Raises had been discussed in the executive committee last week, but when board Speaker Herbert Brooks Jr. made the motion Thursday to raise salaries for the county clerk, sheriff, treasurer and all board members, the room fell silent and it failed for lack of a second.
“In this economic climate, the public felt it was not a good idea,” Brooks said after the meeting. He personally would have voted for the measure, he said, but he had received a lot of calls and comments against it.
“I do not have time for my full-time job because of this,” he said, estimating that he spends 60 hours a week on county business. Brooks is pastor of St. John Missionary Baptist Church in Joliet.
The raises proposed would have increased the sheriff’s pay this year from $110,923 to $120,000, and by another $2,500 in each of the next three years.
The salary for the county clerk and treasurer would have gone from $93,116 to $97,500 in 2016, and for board members, it would have risen from $23,000 to $24,500 in 2016.
Democratic caucus chair Diane Zigrossi, D-Crest Hill, said she knew the vote to raise salaries would need bipartisan support.
There were mixed opinions among the Democrats, she said.
“We have to listen to our constituents. We are judged by public opinion,” Zigrossi said.
Republican caucus chair Jim Moustis, R-Frankfort Square, said “without exception,” no Republican was going to support it.
He said at the executive committee meeting last week that his caucus would not support raises, but he did not block the issue from going forward and being discussed.
Wages are not increasing in the average household, and unemployment in the county is at 9.5 percent, Moustis said.
“The last thing we should be doing as leaders is to say that ‘we get something and you don’t,’ ” he said. “It sends the wrong message.”
Elected officials are “appropriately compensated,” Moustis said.