Schaumburg village manager rakes in 318% more than area’s median households

Schaumburg village manager rakes in 318% more than area’s median households

The highest-earning government employee in at least five municipalities far outpaces what typical local taxpayers in those areas bring in.

While Schaumburg taxpayers struggle with a high tax burden, the village’s highest-earning government employee is collecting a salary of $240,770, a whopping 318 percent more than the median household income.

That employee, Village Manager Brian Townsend, is one of 51 Schaumburg employees earning over $100,000, while the village’s median household income stands at just $75,658. Meanwhile, pension costs – the primary driver behind rising property tax bills – are costing local taxpayers millions.

Taxpayers in Cook County – where Schaumburg is located – paid an effective property tax rate nearly double the national average in 2017, according to ATTOM Data Solutions, a property data company. And their bills appear likely to only further increase, thanks to the high cost of government and government employees.

5 wasteful governments' top employees make more than the average taxpayer

And Schaumburg isn’t alone: Other local governments in Cook County are handing taxpayers an expensive bill. The salaries of top-paid government employees in five municipalities – Schaumburg, Evanston, Bedford Park, Rosemont and Berwyn – significantly outpace what the average local taxpayer makes, according to a new Illinois Policy Institute report.

Bedford Park, a village with a population under 600 residents, has 82 government employees earning over $100,000. Recently retired Assistant Fire Chief Jeffery Clohessy’s annual salary of $206,690 dwarfed the village’s median household income by 325 percent.

Six-figure salaries are nothing new for government employees in Illinois, with 63,000 earning over $100,000. But at a time when Illinoisans pay the nation’s second-highest property taxes and increasingly consider leaving the state altogether, municipalities such as these should resist spending on lobbying and advertising or awarding high government employee salaries.

Schaumburg, Evanston, Bedford Park, Rosemont and Berwyn have spent nearly $2 million combined on lobbying, promotions and advertising from fiscal years 2015 to 2018. Schaumburg alone spent over $680,000 on advertisements and lobbying. Evanston, which anticipates a $7.4 million deficit for fiscal year 2019, has spent over $672,000 on wasteful pursuits. Bedford Park has spent over $730 per resident on lobbying and promotional activities since fiscal year 2015.

Trimming waste in local government is one component of providing tax relief. Addressing exceedingly high taxpayer-funded employee salaries is essential, too, in preventing runaway future pension costs.

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