RANTOUL — Village elected officials will receive raises.
The village board last week narrowly voted to increase the amount the mayor, village clerk and trustees are paid. With the board vote split 3-3, Mayor Chuck Smith broke the tie in favor of the measure.
Trustees Mark Wilkerson, Gary Wilson and Terry Workman voted for the increases, while trustees Sam Hall, Hank Gamel and Sherry Johnson voted against.
Under the new pay structure, the mayor will be paid $32,000 a year plus $4,000 as liquor commissioner — up from $21,000 and $4,000. The mayor’s salary was last increased 21 years ago.
The village clerk’s pay will climb from $7,500 to $8,500 a year plus an additional $600 if earning the status of certificate municipal clerk and $1,200 more for master municipal clerk. The pay of the village clerk was last increased 11 years ago.
The annual pay of trustees will increase from $4,800 to $6,000. Trustees last received a pay raise 13 years ago.
Trustees, other than Wilkerson, made no comment before voting. Wilkerson said the list of duties for the mayor is lengthy and said he believed all of the elected officials deserved pay raises.
During the board’s study session the week before, Johnson said she isn’t serving on the board for the money and said the village faces a great deal of debt.
Both Hall and Gamel cited comments from village employees who thought their pay levels were inequitable, and Hall said he also didn’t run for the board for the money.
Wilson said the trustees are making minimal money for the time they put in.
Village Clerk Mike Graham, who said he won’t seek re-election in April, and resident John Killeen both gave statements the week before saying they thought the pay levels should increase.
Killeen spoke again at the regular board meeting, saying the raises help compensate for inflation and that the board has regularly increased the pay of non-elected village employees, totaling nearly $300,000 this year.
Killeen cited Hall’s and Gamel’s comments about “equal opportunity for minorities in the village’s workforce” and called it “a political pivot to show their concerns.”
But he said they didn’t offer to do anything about it.
“If a trustee is genuinely concerned about equal opportunity in the village workforce, they should address it separately, request an investigation (and) propose legislation,” Killeen said, suggesting mandatory diversity training for every employee.
Killeen opined that the two trustees were politicizing the issue because “of the cowardice of the upcoming April election.”
“It’s nothing more than an exercise in showmanship,” he said.
The certifications of the village clerk, assistant clerk and the duties of the trustees and mayor are connected as sidebars to this article.
The board also:
Approved the appointment of Crystal Wilson to the citizens advisory committee for a term to expire in 2024.
Wilson, who has lived in Rantoul for four years, said she would like to be more involved in the community. She is a customer service representative at AT&T, Rantoul.
The board also voted to approve:
• A 2020 vacuum excavator through Vermeer Midwest for $75,143, by 5-1 vote, with Wilkerson voting against. Wilkerson favored purchase of a 2019 excavator the village had been using for $57,150, toward which the village had already paid $10,000 to lease. The lease money would have gone to the purchase price. The newer excavator, however, has a longer warranty.
• A contract with Roessler Construction to build a new salt shed for $99,970; purchase of building fabric from Calhoun Super Structure for $30,243; and contingency of $13,000.
• Amending an engineering agreement with Donohue & Associates for the village’s northwest wastewater lift station plant pretreatment evaluation for $9,500.