A Yorkville alderman could more than double his or her overall compensation by opting into the city’s health insurance plan—an option Yorkville began offering its elected officials just more than four years ago.
Yorkville’s mayor is paid $8,500 a year, plus $100 for each City Council meeting he or she attends, according to city code. Aldermen get $3,600, plus the $100 per City Council meeting. If they attend two meetings a month, the mayor receives about $910 a month and each alderman is paid $500 a month.
They also have the option of receiving health insurance through the city, at a cost to the city of about $500 a month for a single plan and $2,000 a month for a family plan, City Administrator Bart Olson said. Overall, the city has paid $6,000 monthly for elected officials’ health insurance this fiscal year, which ends April 30, Olson said. The total cost comes to $72,000 for the year.
Ward 4 Alderman Diane Teeling mentioned the health insurance cost at the April 12 City Council meeting as aldermen were discussing the budget.
“No part-time people in our city get health insurance, and we are part time,” Teeling said. “I thought this was something we need to look at.”
State law does not allow public bodies to change elected officials’ compensation mid-term, so any changes made to the pay or health insurance practices would not go into effect until four new aldermen terms begin in 2013 and would have to be made at least six months before the election, Olson said.
An alderman suggested adding elected officials to the city’s health insurance and the City Council approved it without controversy in March 2007, Olson said.
Last week, Teeling said elected officials could save the city money simply by choosing not to sign up for the health insurance.
For his part, Chris Funkhouser, who will be sworn in May 10 to a Ward 3 alderman seat, said he just received information about the city’s health plans and hadn’t decided if he would use it.
He said the issue was something for city leaders to consider in the future, although the health insurance might encourage more people to run for City Council seats.
“It’s pretty low pay, so it is an incentive to somebody coming in,” Funkhouser said.
A survey of pay for elected officials in Plano, Oswego and Sugar Grove revealed amounts similar to Yorkville’s, although none of those entities provided elected officials with health insurance. The chart below assumes officials attend the number of meetings typically scheduled each month and does not include the health insurance cost for Yorkville officials.City Mayor Alderman Population Yorkville $10,900 $6,000 16,921 Oswego $8,400 $6,000 30,355 Sugar Grove $10,600 $4,185 8,997 Plano $9,100 $4,800 10,856
Editor's note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly added $1,000 to the Yorkville mayor's pay and indicated aldermen voted to give themselves health insurance benefits in 2006. Yorkville Patch regrets the errors.