After quarter-century, maybe it's time for a raise?

Published on: 1/8/2013

Hales Corners - The last time village trustees got a raise, it was a real doozy - a 50 percent bump in pay. But that was 26 years ago, and the $300 a month elected officials take home - well, $325 when you factor in travel compensation - doesn't stretch quite as far today as it did then.

Trustee Joseph Mesec pointed out to his fellow elected officials Monday that if trustee pay increased with the consumer price index, they would be making $600 per month and the village president would be making $978.30 a month.

Board members joke about their compensation, but in all seriousness, he asserted, it should be reviewed every few years.

Village President Robert Ruesch agreed to opening the topic for discussion next month, stating: 'It's kind of silly that we've never looked at our income for 26 years, but here we are, managers taking care of everybody else. When it comes to us, we get to the budget and we don't even have enough money to consider it. I think it should be considered.'

Ruesch went a step further, asking if the $25 per month trustees receive as mileage reimbursement covers the wear and tear to their vehicles, as well as fuel costs incurred, when trustees drive for the benefit of the village. According to Mesec's calculations, trustees would be receiving $54.35 per month if costs were adjusted to meet CPI.

Trustee Daniel Besson argued against a pay raise.

'I take this as community service, and I'm proud to say I haven't gotten a raise in 26 years,' he said, but quickly qualifying that 'I'm not saying anybody who votes for a raise doesn't care about the village.'

Trustee Don Schwartz asked that the village compare itself to surrounding communities when discussing compensation. He wanted the village to seek information from the Intergovernmental Community Council.

The Village Board agreed to discuss the matter in more depth at a February Committee of the Whole meeting.

Next Step

WHAT: trustee compensation discussion

WHO: Committee of the Whole

WHEN: 6:45 p.m. Feb. 4

WHERE: Village Hall, 5635 S. New Berlin Road

CONTACT: Village Hall, (414) 529-6161