EDWARDSVILLE - The Madison County Board voted for pay raises for countywide officials and board members during their regular meeting on Wednesday, May 15, 2024.

The Executive Committee put forward two potential pay raises. Board member Chris Guy, chair of the Executive Committee, explained that the first raise would bring the salaries of the circuit clerk, the county coroner and the county auditor from $116,000 to $123,000. It would also increase the County Board chairman’s salary from $107,000 to $123,000.

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Michael Turner, Bill Stoutenborough, Dalton Gray, Matt King, Ryan Kneedler and Chris Guy voted nay. Charles “Skip” Schmidt was absent. The motion passed.

The second raise would increase the salaries of the County Board members from $14,500 to $16,500. Guy noted that this new salary would take effect for County Board members who are elected in the 2024 and 2026 elections, though anyone who is elected in 2024 and is still on the board would not receive that rate until 2026 under state statute.

Chairman Pro Tem Mick Madison said he originally recommended $18,000. He added that he did so “knowing full well” that this would be negotiated. He said he believes $16,500 is “reasonable,” especially considering that the salaries haven’t changed for some members for 14 years and others for 12 years. He also noted that St. Clair County Board members receive a salary of roughly $19,500.

Alison Lamothe also voiced support for the raises. She said she calculated the salaries in 2012 dollars and found that $14,500 in 2012 would be worth roughly $19,000 today.

“I noted that the County Board members have not seen a raise since 2012. In that time, we also lost benefits,” she said. “I bring this up as a matter of fair labor practice.”

Frank Dickerson said that he does not support the raise. He noted that he was once the mayor of Worden and put in more hours at that job than he does as a County Board member.

“I can tell you from my experience, I did a lot more time at that job and made a lot less,” he added. “I think it’s paid very well, and because of that, I will not be in support.”

Paul Nicolussi echoed Dickerson’s comments. He said that everyone on the Board is “well-informed” and puts in a lot of hours, but the job is part-time.

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“Although I do appreciate the money we receive, to me it’s just that we do this part-time,” Nicolussi said. “And our job is just oversight. We don't make laws. I think it’s more than fair compensation. And also, just knocking on doors in my district, my month’s pay is significantly more than someone’s paycheck for a whole week for a full-time job, so I just can’t justify a pay raise.”

Michael “Doc” Holliday noted that he often travels for the County Board job and does a lot on his own for the County. He also pointed out that the raise would set a precedent for incoming County Board members.

“I’ve been a County Board member for quite a while, and I don’t understand why we would not want to give ourselves a raise for what we do. But it’s really not just for us, it’s for the incoming County Board members,” he said. “I just think that if you think other people deserve to get a raise, you should think that you should get a raise yourself.”

Dalton Gray said he does not feel comfortable “voting to give more tax dollars to [him]self.” He said he believes it is a “conflict of interest.”

Mike Babcock said he is not voting for the pay raise for himself, but rather for the future County Board members.

Shawndell Wilson noted that she is a first-time County Board member and “it is a lot of work.” She said she spends a lot of time in other meetings, checking in with townships and parks, following up on grants and more. She added that, to her, it’s more than a part-time job.

John Janek asked if electing to give the County Board members a raise would affect the Metro East Sanitary District by giving them a raise as well. County Board Chairman Kurt Prenzler answered yes.

Madison pointed out that some board members are more involved than others. He said committee chairs, for example, are “naturally going to be more involved than others.”

“I’ve never voted for a raise in my 12 years. However, there are some board members that are committee chairs,” he said. “And this is no disrespect to anyone. This is just how it works out in every board that’s elected. So every two years we have a new board. Some board members are just more involved than others.”

The County Board voted and the motion ultimately carried. Frank Dickerson, Bobby Ross, Michael Turner, Dalton Gray, Robert Pollard, Matt King, John Janek, Ryan Kneedler, Paul Nicolussi and Chris Guy voted nay. Charles “Skip” Schmidt was absent.

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