Kendall board OKs higher per diems
By Steve Lord firstname.lastname@example.org April 24, 2012 3:33PM
Updated: May 26, 2012 8:04AM
Kendall County Board members recently supported an increase in the payment board members receive for attending meetings.
The board voted 5-3 in favor of increasing pay for each meeting attended — called a per diem — by $5 in 2016, and by another $5 in 2020.
That means the $85-a-meeting per diem would increase to $90 on Dec. 1, 2016, and to $95 on Dec. 1, 2020. The increase would not affect current board members, or board members who will be elected in November.
Board Chairman John Purcell supported the per diem hike. He responded to opponents of the increase who suggested that if board members declined to take an increase, it would set an example to others who are being asked to sacrifice.
“Board members haven’t had a raise in 10 years, and even with this it’s 14 years,” Purcell said. “If you want to set an example, is that the kind of example you want to set?”
Board member Robert Davidson, who originally suggested the graduated hike, said he considered it a reasonable increase.
“I didn’t take this job for the per diem, but it does help pay the gas, pay the extra phone bill,” he said.
Board member Jeff Wehrli, who ultimately voted against the increase, said he would rather see the county pay for board members to have cell phones, “if we are going to raise the amount of money.” He said he always takes county calls on his own cell phone, but it runs up his bill.
“If I had a county phone, I could give that number out to everyone, carry it with me, I’d always be available,” he said.
Nancy Martin also voted against the increase. She said she never looked at the money made as a board member as enough to make a living on.
“When I got on the board, I didn’t even know you got paid,” she said.
The board voted 6-2 in support of eliminating the extra $3,000-a-year stipends for the chairmen of the Finance and the Planning, Building and Zoning committees.
Davidson and board member Dan Koukol both said they supported keeping the $3,000 stipend for the Finance Committee.
“That is quite a job,” Koukol said. “It takes a lot of time.”
Although board members supported the two initiatives, they will have to vote on them again as part of an overall resolution when they make decisions on other items, such as setting the elected officials’ salaries.