Trustee believes village staff is top-heavy

By on May 7, 2010

by Martha Quetsch
ELBURN—The village of Elburn had three top staffers—an administrator, a police chief and a public works superintendent until 2008, when it created another position—community development director, a job that later was renamed assistant village administrator.

Two years ago, village trustee Gordon Dierschow was hesitant to create the position, but he decided the village should give it a try. He voted with other trustees in favor of it because of the many development proposals the village had at that time.

On Wednesday, he said that if the economic downturn and slowed housing market that happened since then continues, the village should consider reductions in higher-paid administrative staff, whether in hours, wages or positions.

“We’re a little heavy on the administration side,” he said. “I think we are overstaffed at this time.”

The Village Board on Monday renewed the annual appointments of Village Administrator Erin Willrett, Public Works Superintendent John Nevenhoven and Police Chief Steve Smith. Village President Dave Anderson made the appointments with the consent of the Village Board.

Assistant Village Administrator Dave Morrison’s position does not require an annual appointment. After taking office in May 2009, Anderson named Morrison community development director, and two weeks later changed his title to assistant village administrator. Anderson said the title more accurately reflected the position, which included administrative and committee duties as well as economic development.

Also in May 2009, Anderson named Willrett village administrator. She had been community development director for 16 months before landing the village’s top job, which Morrison had held for more than a decade.

When Anderson reversed the roles of Willrett and Morrison in 2009, he raised Willrett’s salary by nearly $20,000 and lowered Morrison’s salary by about the same amount. However, as assistant administrator, Morrison’s new salary was $93,343 compared to Willrett’s former salary of $79,000.

“We felt that because of the experience he had, he merited a higher salary,” Anderson said Wednesday. “We would not offer a starting (administrative position) salary that high.”

2010-11 top staff salaries
Village Administrator $97,788.58
Asst. Village Administrator $93,343.64
Public Works Superintendent $78,500
Police Chief $80,817