Grayslake’s Village Manager’s salary is the biggest of any city manager’s salary in the state of Illinois. According to a new study by the conservative leaning public interest group For the Good of Illinois, the salary of Grayslake Village Manager Mike Ellis comes out to $259,252 yearly.
According to the study, Ellis is one of seven city managers who makes more money in salary annually than does City of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel’s salary was $216,200 last year. City managers from Schaumburg, Highland Park, Skokie, Gurnee, Northbrook, and Glenview also made more money than Emanuel last year.
Grayslake Patch emailed Grayslake Mayor Rhett Taylor, along with each of his six trustees but none returned the email for comment. A call to Grayslake Village Hall was also left unreturned. In the past, Grayslake officials have told Grayslake Patch privately that Ellis does such a superior job that he deserves his salary.
Bruno Behrend, Executive Director at For the Good of Illinois, scoffed at that notion.
“What they (politicians that award big salaries to city managers) always tell you is, ‘this guy’s doing avery fantastic job,’” continuing, “you know what, there’s plenty of city managers that do a good job and they do it for less money.”
While Behrend said he was unfamiliar with Ellis’ record specifically, he said that For the Good of Illinois ran an analysis of Grayslake’s village budget and the growth of spending increased significantly under Ellis' tenure. Total wages of Grayslake employees has increased from $4,483,758 in 2005 to $5,192,139 in 2010, he said. While Grayslake boasted in the past of reducing full-time staffers, Behrend said that Grayslake has gone from 10 part-time employees to 128 over the last four years.
Appropriations for Grayslake went up exponentially in the last five years, from $21,946,925 in 2005 to $68,300,297 in 2010. The operating budget, however, rose only marginally in that time period, from expenses of $14,785,124 in the 2007/2008 budget to expenses of $15,569,293 in the 2010/2011 budget.
Behrend said the citizens of all villages should understand that exorbitant salary increases for City or Village Managers and other city employees mean higher property tax rates for city homeowners.
While the Mayors of Chicago suburbs are the top politician in any given locality, it is the job of the village manager to run the village on a day to day basis. While Grayslake’s Mayor is a part time position, the Village Manager is a full-time position.