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Letter: Why does DuPage County pay the most for its county clerk?

Published: Thursday, May 22, 2014 5:31 p.m. CDT

To the editor:

In every county in Illinois, the electoral process is carried out by the county clerk’s office, with one exception – DuPage. We are the only county with an independent county-wide electoral process. I’ve been critical of this structure while witnessing years of conflicts of interest, patronage appointments, and massive overspending.

A conspicuous and strangely overlooked chunk of this overspending has been the bloated salaries at the top.

I’ve compiled the clerk salaries of the top 10 most populated counties in Illinois aside from DuPage; they range from $81,500 to $121,700. The average salary is $99,700. If you ask any of these county clerks what their number one responsibility is, he or she would say administering elections.

Our county clerk has nothing to do with elections, yet he receives $143,000. That’s 43 percent above the average, with the least amount of responsibility. Our election commission director makes $135,561.

The Lake County county clerk told a local newspaper, "I've always joked that it takes two highly-compensated men in DuPage to do what I do.”

Our county clerk was quoted in the media last year, “I'm glad I don't have to worry about elections.”

Indeed.

If our county clerk doesn't want the headaches and workload of the other 101 county clerks in Illinois, then he shouldn't be paid so well. He shouldn't be allowed to have it both ways.

This month, the DuPage County Board will be voting on the salaries of elected officials. If there is no willingness for the office of DuPage County Clerk to conduct the electoral process, then the salary should be cut in half. If the board disagrees, they must justify to taxpayers why they should pay more for the same services other counties receive for a lot less.

Half the job, half the salary.

Jean Kaczmarek

Candidate, DuPage County Clerk

Glen Ellyn

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