Over the past year, the Review has covered a series of discussions at the village council related to adjusting salary ranges for department heads at village hall. It seemed like some exercise in internal housekeeping that probably had value. But we did not understand the purpose of the exercise until we finally began asking better questions this week. 

What’s clear is that Mayor Rory Hoskins, the commissioners, and Administrator Moses Amidei have been working to create a more equitable pay structure for women in key leadership posts in Forest Park’s village government.

Good for them.

Forest Park’s history is not unusual. There have been a paltry number of women in top leadership. And neither the posts they have been assigned to nor the individual women in those posts have been compensated adequately over all these years. 

Starting now that has been intentionally changed. 

While male department heads received decent pay hikes for the coming year — most saw increases of 3.75% — three women in leadership saw increases ranging from 6% to not quite 20%. 

That brings Village Clerk Vanessa Moritz, Finance Director Letitia Olmsted, and Community Center Director Karen Dylewski each to a minimum of $100,000. It took the heaviest bump, 19.74%, to get Dylewski to that milestone number. 

The pay hikes approved recently for department heads still reflect reasonable reflections of the roles being played. The chiefs, police and fire, are the top paid administrators in the village. Amidei, still somewhat new in his post, got a 3.75% increase and now makes $123,000 to place him third on the payroll.

Olmsted, filling the critical role of finance chief, remains the highest paid woman at village hall. 

This important change took fresh eyes from elected leaders who recognized the traditional and, until now, wrongly accepted inequities in pay structure. In a government not swimming in surpluses, it took conscious effort and some fiscal stretching to accomplish this worthy goal. 

Hoskins, reflecting on the progress, said, “I think we are closer to pay equity and I think it’s an important step for the village.”

We fully agree.

See you Friday on Madison

The Chamber’s Holiday Walk is back in full force and splendid spirit this Friday evening all along Madison Street.

Join in for a lovely evening that will turn your mind toward the holidays, reinforce your pride in our community, and leave you impressed by the resilience of Forest Park’s vital and independent business community.

Thanks to the Chamber for all of its work through the year to showcase our village.