The Forest Park Village Council amended the salary schedule for village employees that was approved less than two months ago, allowing the village's recently-hired executive secretary to receive a raise.
When Tanzla Davis-Rodriguez was hired in May as executive secretary to the mayor and village administrator, her annual salary was $50,000, the high end of the range for that position according to the salary schedule for officials and employees not covered by union contracts. The ordinance establishing the salary scale was approved April 22.
However, the village council, June 10, amended the ordinance, changing the range for the executive secretary to $40,000 to $60,000.
Mayor Rory Hoskins said he initiated the amendment.
"The position previously paid higher," he explained. "The rate is now suitable to where we are."
Davis-Rodriguez replaced Sally Cody, who has been working part-time since stepping down from full-time duties in April 2018. Cody's annual salary was $83,000 when she worked full-time.
When the council adopted the new salary scale April 22, the range for executive secretary was reduced to between $40,000 and $50,000. Prior to that, it was between $40,000 and $83,000.
Davis-Rodriguez's hiring was approved by the council 5-0 on May 13. In addition to the mayor, she also serves Village Administrator Tim Gillian.
The executive secretary performs administrative duties, including coordinating appointments for the mayor.
Cody was executive secretary for 19 years and worked for the village since 1981.
Commissioner Dan Novak voted against adopting the annual salary scale at the April 22 council meeting, saying the newly-elected board should "have a say."
The negative vote was a relative rarity for the Forest Park Village Council.
Novak and Commissioner Joseph Byrnes were re-elected April 2, while commissioners Rachell Entler and Tom Mannix and Mayor Anthony Calderone did not run again. Hoskins and new commissioners Ryan Nero and Jessica Voogd joined the village council at the May 14 meeting.
On April 22, Novak said his opposition to the salary scale was due to the timing of the action.
The salary scale is approved annually and covers salaries for officials and employees not covered by union contracts for the following fiscal year, which runs from May 1 of the current calendar year to April 30 of the following year. Although it should be approved prior to the end of the current fiscal year, village officials have in the past approved it after May 1 with increases paid retroactively. This was done as recently as last year, when the salary scale was approved in June. In 2018, village officials explained the delay was due to ongoing negotiations with union employees and their desire to tie salary increases for nonunion employees to those represented by unions.
"Let the new council have a say," Novak said on April 22. "We don't always approve the salary scale before May 1. I support every employee but I believe in merit raises as opposed to those that are across the board. For fiscal year 2019, the newly elected officials should have a say in it."
The salary scale increases average 2 percent, which is in line with increases received by employees under the contracts with Teamsters Local 705, representing public works employees; Automobile Mechanics Local 701; Firefighters Local 2753; and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 3026, which represents clerical workers. Police officers represented by Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 211 continue to work without a contract. The previous contract expired April 30, 2018.