Kane County Board members may get their first raises in more than a decade, but they could also lose their health insurance benefits in the process.
State law requires the county board to review the salaries of its elected officials every 10 years, after the county board redistricts. That’s also the only time all 24 county board seats go on the ballot at the same time, making any raise the county board might give itself or its fellow county elected officials even more. politically dangerous.
That’s part of why the 2010 county board approved the increases. It has now been more than a decade since county officials received a pay raise. And some officials are pushing for salaries that allow people of all economic levels to run for public office.
“There are people who would love to run for office but just don’t have the means to put in the time,” said county board member Monica Silva. “As a single mom, I probably wouldn’t have been able to run for office if there wasn’t a salary.”
Board members receive an annual salary of $25,000.
Silva’s comments came as a compensation review committee made up of residents appointed by County Board President Corinne Pierog recommended only a few raises Wednesday: 5% raises for the county clerk, sheriff and treasurer, and increases of 2% each year on a rolling basis. All three of those positions are up for election this year.
That’s key, because state law prohibits county officials from receiving pay raises during the current term. Raises for county clerk, sheriff, treasurer or board cannot take effect until December. Raises for other positions, such as coroner, registrar or auditor, could not take effect until after the next time those positions are on the ballot, in 2024.
County board members’ pay and benefits are frequent targets of challengers during election season. Salaries alone cost $600,000 in budget each year.
The compensation committee did not recommend raises for the county board. In fact, Sue Klinkhamer, the former mayor of St. Charles who led the compensation committee, told county board members that they should waive the health insurance coverage members receive.
“The $25,000 is more than most mayors in Kane County make,” Klinkhamer said. “It’s not a full-time job. With health insurance, if you have a county that doesn’t provide health insurance to their part-time employees, it’s hard to justify. The benefits can be worth more than the salary. That’s something.” that you have to investigate”.
It wasn’t that long ago that county board members did just that.
Board member Mo Iqbal called the insurance benefit “corruption” during his first election campaign and pushed through a plan for county board members to pay the full cost of the benefit to stay on the county’s insurance plan. county in 2019.
Board members are the only part-time employees in the county who receive full health insurance coverage. Taxpayers cover 83% of premium costs.
At the time of Iqbal’s push, 17 of the 24 county board members were on the county insurance plan at a cost to taxpayers of $240,000. The board rejected Iqbal’s efforts to change the policy.
A vote on eliminating the health insurance benefit may have a better chance now. Only 12 of the current 24 board members accept the health insurance benefit. An additional member uses only the dental portion of the plan.
On Wednesday, another board member, Jim Martin, supported Iqbal’s idea that board members pay for insurance coverage.
A committee of county board members will now conduct a more in-depth examination of potential benefit increases and changes. Neither Iqbal nor Martin are on the committee.