by Brian Costin
Director of Government Reform
“Ever since the Village of Willowbrook’s participation in the Illinois Policy Institute’s Local Transparency Project, the Mayor and Board of Trustees have been interested in ways of furthering the Village’s transparency efforts.” - Garrett Hummel, Management Analyst, Village of Willowbrook.
The Village of Willowbrook previously earned a transparency award from the Illinois Policy Institute for scoring an 86.8% on the Local Transparency Project. Since then Willowbrook has been thinking of additional ways to be more transparent to its citizens.
In scoring over 180 local government agencies across Illinois public employee salary & benefit information is often the lowest scoring area on the Institute’s 10-Point Transparency Checklist, despite being perhaps the most requested piece of information by citizens.
On January 1, 2012 PA 97-0609 went into effect. The Act requires IMRF employers such as school districts, municipalities and counties, to post the total compensation packages for IMRF employees receiving a total compensation package that exceed $75,000 per year. This information must be posted within six days of approving its budget, and must be posted 6 days prior to the entity’s budget approval for employees who’s total compensation exceeds $150,000.
Despite not being required to by law the Village of Willowbrook went above and beyond when it comes to public employee salary & benefit transparency by recently mailing their “entire employee compensation spreadsheet to every resident in an effort to continue to strive for complete government transparency.”
In a letter addressed to all residents of Willowbrook Mayor Robert Napoli said “I have directed that the Village of Willowbrook fully comply with not just the letter of this new law but with its spirit as well. I so acted in the belief that the law's spirit requires your local government to be fully open, transparent and accountable to you. Accordingly, in the enclosed spreadsheet you will find the total compensation packages for all Village of Willowbrook employees and elected officials.”
The spreadsheet and accompanying letter from the Mayor is also posted on Willowbrook’s website.
For rising above and beyond the state’s requirements in local government transparency we praise the Village of Willowbrook for their efforts, and encourage others to do the same.