Thursday, July 31, 2008

New Leadership At Proviso Township Mental Health Commission

The Proviso Township Mental Health Commission has new leadership. The board recently accepted Lisa Denunzio-Devivo's resignation and named Jesse D. Rosas as Executive Director of the Proviso Township Mental Health Commission. Also Lisa Loster was appointed Director of Grants of the Proviso Township Mental Health Commission replacing Jesse D. Rosas.

1 comment:

township bussiness said...

Local townships vague about insurance costs



Township officials soon will be voting on new salary and benefit packages for the next term of elected officials, but exactly how much taxpayers are paying these people isn't always written in black and white.

Officials must follow state law that says compensation must be set 180 days before the beginning of the next term, which begins next spring.

But "compensation" is not defined by the state statute. So when a taxpayer sees only salary figures, it does not reveal the total cost.

According to Township Officials of Illinois' Web site, "any health insurance benefit provided is considered part of the compensation package and needs to be set at the same time salary for the position is set." It said there is case law that says if no salary is established, no salary may be paid.

The same holds for insurance, pension and other benefits, said Jerry Crabtree, TOI's associate director. If it's not provided for at this time, they can't receive it, he said.

"You can't increase your pay while in office," he said. "Insurance benefits cannot be added later."

New Lenox Township taxpayers currently shell out $171,300 for salaries to all elected officials and pay 100 percent of insurance costs for the assessor and highway commissioner.

'Vagueness of law'

In 1993, the township board passed a resolution spelling out salaries for its supervisor, clerk, assessor, road commissioner and four trustees. The resolution also stated the township would contribute 7.5 percent of the salaries to a deferred compensation plan.

The same was stated in the salary schedule set in 2000, but nothing was provided for in 1997 and 2004, even though the highway commissioner and assessor have continued to receive insurance and pension benefits all four terms.

New Lenox township board attorney Cass Wennlund points to the vagueness of law to explain why it doesn't matter whether the amount spent on benefits is specifically spelled out in the resolution.

"It's not clear what compensation is. If the Legislature wanted it to be spelled out, they should have spelled it out," he said. TOI says it should be included as a "fail-safe way" of doing business, he said. "You could take the safe route and include it, but what if you switched health plans?"

TOI executive director Bryan Smith said as long as benefits are officially provided for, the plans can be changed mid-term.

New package for New Lenox

New Lenox Township Supervisor Bill McCollum said he doesn't know why benefits were not detailed in the compensation packages in 1997 and 2004, even though he has been on the board since 2001. The attorney always reviewed it, and "I assumed counsel was accurate," he said.

McCollum now is working on a package with Trustee Mike Hickey, to be approved by the board this fall.

"My intent is to do a formal resolution that would be very specific" and include salary and benefits, he said. "The package will be reflective of what is required and fair and equitable among similar townships."

In Frankfort Township, Supervisor Jim Moustis said all elected officials are considered full time so they may be eligible to participate in the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund, but only the highway commissioner and assessor accept the benefits package, which also is the case in New Lenox.

While it is difficult to say exactly how much these benefits cost, Moustis estimated taxpayers pay about $650 per month for an individual's health insurance, share in the cost for dependent coverage and pay 10 percent of the salary for pension benefits.

Because the benefit package is "elective" and employee contributions fluctuate and rates vary, Moustis said he does not include details of it in the compensation package.

Possible Monday vote

At their Monday meeting, Homer Township officials may be voting on how much to pay their elected officials for the next four years. When they passed the last salary schedule in 2004, the resolution simply stated, "with continuing benefits."

Township Supervisor Bud Fazio said he and the trustees do not take the insurance, but all the others do.

In an effort to be fair and equitable, he's been calling other townships to see how much they pay.

"It's very difficult. There is such a wide range of salaries," he said.

What makes it more confusing is that all elected officials are considered full-time, but not all put in full-time hours, he said.

In Homer Township, the current clerk does not want to work full time, even though her salary is based on full-time hours, he said.

Susan DeMar Lafferty can be reached at slafferty@southtownstar.com or (708) 802-8805.

A comparison of 2008 salaries

HOMER TOWNSHIP

Supervisor: $41,000

Clerk: $39,000

Highway commissioner: $49,000

Assessor: $42,000

Trustee: $6,200

FRANKFORT TOWNSHIP

Supervisor: $47,395

Clerk: $10,327

Highway commissioner: $75,791

Assessor: $68,065

Trustee: $6,000

NEW LENOX TOWNSHIP

Supervisor: $37,000

Clerk: $19,000

Highway commissioner: $57,500

Assessor: $41,000

Trustee: $4,200