Orland Park Village Board members vote unanimously to reduce trustee, clerk salaries by 25%

New salaries will take effect post April 2021 election

By Jon DePaolis

ORLAND PARK, Ill. — As workers across the United States continue to endure economic challenges because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Village of Orland Park Board of Trustees voted Monday, Nov. 2, to earn a little less compensation starting in May 2021.  

The elected officials voted 7-0 during the Village Board of Trustees meeting to reduce the salaries of Village trustees and the clerk position after the April 2021 election. The salaries for the trustees and the clerk positions will be adjusted to $10,350 per year, taking effect upon the commencement of each board member’s term in May 2021.

Mayor Keith Pekau said the idea initially came from Trustee Dan Calandriello.

“Trustee Calandriello sent an inquiry to our village manager in light of the [COVID-19] budget constraints which we currently face to look into lowering pay for trustees,” Pekau said.

The mayor said he read the email and thought it was a great idea. He added it to the Nov. 2 Village Board agenda for a vote after learning from the Village’s attorneys that in order for the item to be in effect for those elected in April 2021, it would need to be made official at that night’s meeting.

Pekau said staff provided research on the Village Board members’ pay, detailing that the trustees’ salaries had last been raised during the 2015 term. Prior to that, they had been raised in 2004.

“That 2004 pay raise is the same as what the mayor’s new salary will be in the term beginning in 2021,” Pekau said. “Therefore, it made sense to reduce the trustees’ pay to that same time period.”

Pekau said the clerk’s pay “was another matter.”

“Now that the responsibilities of FOIAs and the minutes and agendas are managed by the Village Manager, the clerk has few responsibilities — certainly not more than the trustees,” Pekau said. “Therefore, it made sense for the clerk’s pay to be reduced to the same as the trustees.”

Calandriello explained the intent behind his email during the discussion.

“I know that we’re going to have a tight budget cycle, and it’s why I put this offer out there,” Calandriello said. “We’re unsure of how tight it is exactly going to be, because we don’t have a budget meeting until [later this month]. We usually have it a bit earlier, but that’s why I offered [this]. It’s a 25% cut, so hopefully we are somewhere close to what the budget cuts are going to be, if any, for next year.”

Calandriello said he felt it would be good for the Village Board members to set an example by reducing their salaries.

Trustee Michael Milani agreed.

“I’m definitely behind this change, because clearly I don’t think I’m in this for the money,” he said. “It’s really more of what is doing right for the Village of Orland Park. We’ve already eliminated the pensions, and the previous board lowered the mayoral salary. So, really, this makes sense and it is the next logical step.”

Trustee William Healy also supported the change.

“In private industry, many people have taken a COVID haircut or got laid off from jobs,” Healy said. “This would be hand in hand with that, and I have no problem accepting this. It’s a small sacrifice for the times.”

Prior to the vote, Trustee James Dodge attempted to amend the motion to set the mayor’s salary at $30,376. This, he said, would make the currently approved salary for the mayor — $40,000 at the start of the May 2021 term — fall in line with the 25% reduction to which the other positions were being cut.

The motion, however, failed 4-3, with Pekau, Milani, Healy and Trustee Cynthia Nelson Katsenes voting against the amendment.