Township trustees zero-out salaries
(Left to right) Northfield Township trustees Carol Blustein, Karen McCormick and supervisor Jill Brickman participate in the monthly township meeting at Passport Plaza Building in Glenview September 11, 2012. | Curtis Lehmkuhl~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 21, 2012 1:29PM
Northfield Township trustees have zeroed-out their salaries, saving the general assistance agency more than $17,000 a year.
The four trustees also froze the yearly incomes of all other elected officials that run the office’s daily operations, which serve Glenview, Northbrook and Northfield.
“We’ll put the $17,000 from the trustees’ salaries to help fund social services. It’s a small amount, but every dollar helps,” said Trustee Carol Blustein.
Trustee Mary Reynolds said people serving on local library and school boards, both with significant budgets to monitor, did not receive money.
“Trustees, especially on school boards, have enormous financial responsibilities without being compensated. If you want to pick up these responsibilities, it should be for civic reasons,” she said.
Starting in August, township salaries were posted online at www.twp.northfield.il.us, Blustein said, adding that an election is coming up next year on April 13.
“We want to set things up for the new board and be as transparent and accountable as possible,” she said.
Blustein also said the salary reductions were not approved because of an unbalanced budget.
This year’s township budget is $1.8 million.
Asked is she was running for office, Blustein replied, “I’m running for something next year.”
All serving Northfield Township, Supervisor Jill Brickman Highway Commissioner Peter Amarantos, Clerk Laura Fine and Assessor Patricia Damisch supported the decision to freeze their salaries.
They said the slow national economy has tightened public spending.
“Northfield Township is hurting with so many people using its food pantry and general and emergency assistance programs. That’s where we need to focus,” Fine said.
At the Aug. 14 township board meeting, trustees asked Brickman and Amarantos if they would start documenting their work hours for the official record.
They both work 600 hours per year, which qualifies them for state pensions under the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.
Brickman agreed to the request for filling out time sheets, but Amarantos refused.
“I’m way beyond the 600 hours. I’m there 24/7 — all the time. There’s more important things to worry about, like all these state representatives and (Illinois House Speaker) Mike Madigan trying to raid funds of the IMRF,” he said after the Aug. 28 public meeting.
Beth Janicki Clark, IMRF associate general counsel in Oak Brook, said government entities should have policies for recording work hours in case her office audits them for pay discrepancies.
“If there are no written hours, we would require someone to recreate the hours. If they couldn’t, we could determine if they were qualified or not to enroll in IMRF,” she said.