McHenry Township trustees vote to slash elected officials' pay

Health benefits, pensions set to remain the same

McHenry Township Supervisor Craig Adams (from left), Trustee Bill Cunningham and Trustee Bob Anderson discuss a matter during a past meeting.
McHenry Township Supervisor Craig Adams (from left), Trustee Bill Cunningham and Trustee Bob Anderson discuss a matter during a past meeting.

McHenry Township officials have voted to cut the pay of elected officials.

By a margin of 4-1, with Supervisor Craig Adams offering the only “no” vote, trustees on Thursday approved this pay scale for McHenry Township’s top jobs:

• Supervisor: $45,000

• Highway commissioner: $45,000

• Assessor: $45,000

• Clerk: $10,000

The salary changes will not take effect until 2021 and 2022, when current officials finish out their final terms. Health benefits and pension contribution will remain the same.

Pay will remain flat for the span of officials’ four-year terms.

The resolution to slash pay came from Trustee Bob Anderson, who has been fighting to lower taxes and abolish townships since the 1990s. To Anderson, a Wonder Lake barber, the vote represents a small victory.

“This is exactly what we ran on,” Anderson said. “We did exactly what the people voted for us to do. They wanted us to change what was being done over there, and that’s what we’re doing.”

The new salary numbers are a big departure from what the officials currently make. The total compensation of township officials includes several layers, including base salary, insurance and pension contributions:

• Supervisor Craig Adams: $97,610 (plus $1,000 to serve as road district treasurer)

• Highway Commissioner Jim Condon: $106,919

• Clerk Dan Alyward: $14,242

• Assessor Mary Mahady: $87,994

“This is nothing personal,” Anderson said. “We’re doing what the voters asked us to do.”

Adams said the push to cut pay was ill-advised and failed to account for the work performed in each office.

“There was no consideration for the levels of responsibility for the job,” Adams said. “There was no consideration for the skill level for the job. I don’t have a finance director. I don’t have a full-time administrator. There was no consideration for even what the current market is for jobs similar to this.”

The obliterated salaries won’t amount to much on the tax bills of McHenry Township residents.

“They’re going to save the taxpayers maybe two bucks on their tax bills,” Adams said.

To Adams, the reduced salaries will create a problem down the road. No one will want to run for office to take a job that’s underpaid, he said.

“Our positions are not overpaid for market,” Adams said. “In fact, I’d say we are underpaid for the market.”

Adams said Anderson’s campaign isn’t about the taxpayers or running government well; it’s about smearing the reputation of Illinois townships.

“Mr. Anderson wants to abolish townships. This is another step in that direction,” Adams said. “This is one way to further erode confidence of the voters that townships even exist.”

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