kens*ten: a political blog

Tribune: More Sky-High Local Official Salaries

Spending Your Tax Dollars Without a Care in the World

The Park District of Highland Park (IL) has joined the sky-high local government payroll club. The Chicago Tribune reports that the local taxing body significantly raised salaries and granted large bonuses to key administrators — in one case over 300% — specifically to augment their pensions. 

Park District executive director Ralph Volpe received a 2005 salary of $138,733, the Park District Board raised his total compensation 313% to $435,203 by 2008. Volpe’s total compensation in 2008 was greater than the $400,000 salary paid to President Barack Obama

The 2005 salary of David Harris, district facilities director, increased from $135,403 to $339,302 including bonuses in 2008 — an increase of 250%.  Kenneth Swan, the district’s finance director, 2005 salary increased 174% from $124,908 to $218,372. The total compensation paid to both Harris and Swan in 2008 exceeded the $155,600 salary of the Illinois Governor Patrick Quinn

Running a $20 million park district deserves compensation exceeding what we pay the “Leader of the Free World”? I don’t care how rich your town is, that is just insane. 

Couldn’t the park commissioners in Highland Park have found a better way to spend nearly $1 million of taxpayer funds? Maybe, on playground equipment or sports fields… or here’s a crazy thought… charging less to participate in park district programs. 

No, they chose to reward their “employees” with a retirement of luxury… on the taxpayer’s dime. 

The good citizens of Highland Park should follow the course of their brethren in Bell, California. They should seek the immediate resignation of the park district commissioners who approved this gross misappropriation of public funds.

© 2010 by kens*ten. All rights reserved.

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Written by kensten

08/01/2010 at 4:00 pm

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