How much are public officials worth?

Compensation depends on a variety of factors


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By Jean Lotus


How much should a village administrator be paid? This was the question on the minds of Forest Parkers in the past week, after compensation for Village Administrator Tim Gillian was discussed by the village council in both closed and open sessions over the past two months.

At the Jan. 14 council meeting, discussion turned vehement as Commissioner Mark Hosty asserted that Gillian was the 16th highest paid employee and clearly the best he's worked with of all four previous administrators.

Commissioner Rory Hoskins had leaked to the Forest Park Review what he considered an "obscene" $20,000 pay raise that Hosty proposed for Gillian during a closed session. The amount was never considered, as the other commissioners present complained it was too high.

But Mayor Anthony Calderone said in the Jan. 14 meeting that he instructed Vanessa Moritz, the village clerk, to compile a list of salaries from nearby municipalities for similar jobs. He also sent a letter to every mailing address in Forest Park assuring them that Gillian had not received a $20,000 raise.

"It would be absurd for me to agree to what would amount to a 20 percent pay increase for any employee of the village!" he wrote on Jan. 9. He criticized Hoskins and the Review for "irresponsible behavior" and said a direct letter was the "best way to negate the terrible ill effects [of public perception]."

Why is Tim Gillian the 16th highest-paid village employee? The reason appears to be because he's not a union member and is the least senior member of the non-union managerial staff, having worked only three years.

Of non-union managerial staff, Gillian is fourth out of five with a base salary of $101,302. But this is largely because he's a relative newcomer to the village payroll. Fire Chief Steve Glinke, who has led the department for a decade and also runs the Health and Public Safety Department, is paid a base salary of $124,832. Likewise, Deputy Chief Bob McDermott earns a base salary of $106,776, and has served in that role for 10 years. Police Chief Jim Ryan earns $114,531, having served for nine years and Deputy Police Chief Tom Aftanas earns $106,179 after six years. Public Works Director John Doss is paid $85,730, having worked for the village for more than 12 years.

Among the highest paid village employees are union members who have been on the force for many years. Six police sergeants and six firefighters (including three lieutenants) with seniority earn between $126,000 and $103,000.

Gillian was hired for $90,000 in 2009, and his pay soon increased by 10 percent to over $100,000.

Neighboring village administrators and managers earn more money but with bigger populations or higher median incomes and larger budgets. Forest Park's median household income, listed in the 2010 U.S. Census is $51,906. Forest Park median home value is $222,400. The population is listed as 14,228.

Village Administrator Eric Palm of River Forest (population 11,172) earns $120,367.04 in a village with a median income of $122,584 and a median house value of $602,800. Oak Park Village Manager Cara Pavlicek of Oak Park manages a 52,000 population municipality and is paid a base salary of $150,000. Brian Pabst of Berwyn earns a base salary of $102,000 managing a city of 56,000. North Riverside (pop. 6,672) Village Manager Guido Belmonte earns a base salary of $120,746 but has worked for the village for more than 10 years and started around $71,000.

More comparable might be Wauconda, population 13,656, where median income is around $70,000 and median home price is $235,000. Village Administrator Zaida Torres earned a $98,773 base salary in 2011. In Wood Dale, population 13,300, where median income is $63,285 and home price is $274,500, City Manager Jeffrey Mermuys earned base pay of $120,000 in 2011. He has worked for the municipality for seven years, including a stint as interim village manager and assistant village manager.

Transferability of skills

Professional village managers and village administrators often have a specific skill set and credentials that make their job transferable from one municipality to the next. Former Village Manager Michael Sturino started during the boom years in 2005 at a base pay of around $103,000. Sturino received a $20,000 pay raise between 2005 and 2006 and then another raise. His salary was up to roughly $138,000 in base pay when he left in 2008. But Sturino had a law degree and expertise in transportation and land use.

Typically, village managers and administrators work for a few years in one municipality and then hop to the next. For example, since he left Forest Park in 2000, former village manager James Thomas has served in Whitefish Bay, Wis.; Sterling, Colo.; and West Warwick, R.I.

Bill Barlow, village manager of Maywood (pop. 24,117), earns $105,000 and has also been manager of Winfield, Rolling Meadows and Xenia, Ohio. He holds a Master of Public Administration degree.


Taxing body


The salaries of public officials in Forest Park differ dramatically depending on the taxing body. Forest Park District 91 Superintendent Louis Cavallo earns a base salary of $188,349 and Asst. Superintendent/Finance Director Ed Brophy earns $122,815 in base salary, according to school documents. Both have advanced degrees and longtime experience in school districts. Park District of Forest Park Director Larry Piekarz earned around $109,000 in 2011 according to


Correction: This story has been corrected to accurately  report the salary of Berwyn City Administrator Brian Pabst.

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Reader Comments

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philip from forest park  

Posted: January 27th, 2013 3:15 PM

So the Mayor sends out a letter, to try and explain how his friend and commisioner tried to slip by a $20K pay increase to the mayor's other friend. The mayor then proceeds to berate the commisioner who brought this to the attention of the public, to whom he was elected to protect the interests of the public and NOT the friends of the Mayor. The Mayors silence on Hosty for even raising the proposal isn't even mentioned. Another sign the Mayor is protecting his friends!

Forest Parker  

Posted: January 26th, 2013 1:43 PM

The mayor was in such a hurry to send out the letter to everyone (on our dime) that he put $200,000 raise for Timmy couldn't be further from the truth. Mere slip or way to cover the real fact of wanting to give Tim the $20,000! Hmmmmmm

who indeed  

Posted: January 26th, 2013 12:54 PM

@Tamer -- who paid? Look in the mirror. Postage, stationary, misuse of village residential customer address list, ...

Tamer Abouzeid from Forest Park  

Posted: January 26th, 2013 11:23 AM

The letter sent to every address in Forest Park seems to be like it should not be paid for by budget money. It seemed more of a letter to save face from Mayor Calderone, and as such, is more of a campaign letter. Who paid for these direct mailings?

Bill from Melrose Park South  

Posted: January 25th, 2013 10:16 PM

From Jan from Forest Park: "There does not seem to be any news about the community." You're right of course Jan. Except for the several columnists and.... ?F.P. Historical Society helps with vintage touch for (softball) throwback game ?Chili cookoff in FP earns $20K for disabled programs ?Voters to weigh in on video gambling ?Senior help agency returns to Forest Park ?Shoplifting struggle (at Ed's Way) results in injury ?Forest Park police reports - Jan. 13-21 ?D 209 candidate ruled ineligible

Reader from Forest Park  

Posted: January 25th, 2013 4:30 PM

@Jan. You obvioulsy still read the FPR, otherwise you would not have commented. Hmmm...

jerry from forest park  

Posted: January 25th, 2013 6:08 AM

Jan, since FPR does not charge for this of coarse you cancelled your paper, that being said,this news about FP and I guess you missed the other articles in the paper this week or the last few months about the things going on in town. You would rather parrot certain elected officals in town.

Jan from Forest Park  

Posted: January 25th, 2013 1:57 AM

I am just so amused that this is FOREST PARK REVIEW. There does not seem to be any news about the community.. just a pissing match. Put your personal differences aside and find out what is happening in our community!!! So sad FPR, I see your papers thrown away each week from the news stands you place them. Years ago they used to be sold out. What happened?? The 10 or 12 people you have posting here are not paying your bills are they? I am not, I canceled my subscription last year.

Forest Parker  

Posted: January 23rd, 2013 1:56 PM

@Bill, if you are referring to credentialing, Mr. Gillian does not meet the minimum educational requirement (Bachelor degree at a minimum)!

Bill from Melrose Park South  

Posted: January 23rd, 2013 9:17 AM

For those of you who actually want to know about what most municipalities look for when hiring a municipal manager/ administrator, go to That's the International City/County Management Association.

Edward P. from Forest Park  

Posted: January 23rd, 2013 9:01 AM is where this story belongs.

Edward P. from Forest Park  

Posted: January 23rd, 2013 8:58 AM

Billy, we are anxiously waiting for your answer. Once the wirlybirds stop you just might be coherent.

Bill from Melrose Park South  

Posted: January 23rd, 2013 8:53 AM

Yeah, Eddie boy, Didn't think you really wanted an answer to your question.

Edward P. from Forest Park  

Posted: January 23rd, 2013 8:48 AM

Billy, thank you. I see you are the self appointed and great and powerful no nothing. Go work for a living.

Bill from Melrose Park South  

Posted: January 23rd, 2013 8:34 AM

"... do some research and find out what the qualifications are for Village Administrators, not to be confused with Village Managers. Different roles, different responsibilities, different skill sets....and don't just make some stupid sh*t up." Only one confused and making "sh*t" up is you, Eddie. The qualifications and skill sets are the same. The only difference is a manager is sole employee directly hired by village board or council, answerable to the board, but with direct hire/fire authority


Posted: January 23rd, 2013 5:02 AM

Commissioner Rory Hoskins had leaked to the Forest Park Review Wow! Did he leak he failed the bar exam too?

Edward P. from Forest Park  

Posted: January 23rd, 2013 12:14 AM

Maybe the Forest Park Review can do some research and find out what the qualifications are for Village Administrators, not to be confused with Village Managers. Different roles, different responsibilities, different skill sets. This on, and on, and on and on argument about qualifications has been beat to death, and for the regular naysayers spare me the part about the mayors friend. What are the qualifications, and don't just make some stupid sh*t up.

Bill from Melrose Park South  

Posted: January 22nd, 2013 10:39 PM

Lost in the uproar over the ridiculous suggestion to hike Tim Gillian's salary $20K, is the fact that he has worked hard and deserves some reward. That doesn't change a whit the fact that he was unqualified and got the job solely because was a friend of the mayor.THAT SAID, I say give the guy a reasonable raise, as the FPR editorial suggests. Average raises are around 2 percent, so give him five. Then as part of future raises, do what most villages do and institute a real performance review.

Bill from Melrose Park South  

Posted: January 22nd, 2013 10:18 PM

Thank you, FPR, for an informative article. Hope the mayor doesn't find it too "bizarre."

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