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Whose county board members cash in the most?

LaSalle News Tribune

Tuesday, January 9, 2018  |  Article  |  

Local Government (60)

Jill Bernal of Peru said she finds it important to attend all of her committee and full board meetings for La Salle County.

This is Bernal’s (D-Peru) third term on the board, and she’s involved with eight committee meetings, which all meet once a month, as well as a monthly full county board meeting. For some meetings, she travels outside the county, such as Bolingbrook, Morris and Joliet.

She does record mileage for committee meetings, but she doesn’t for full-county board meetings so she can give a break to the taxpayers, she said.

“I try my hardest to make every meeting,” she said.

To know what’s voted on, members need to attend the meetings, she said.

“That’s why you’re elected,” she said.

There’s a lot of work that goes into trying to make every meeting, but Bernal enjoys it, she said.

“I just love being on the county board with the ability to represent District 8 and the whole county,” she said.

Here is a breakdown of area counties and what is paid out in mileage and per diem:


La Salle County

Population: 111,333 in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

There are 29 members on the La Salle County Board, and each member is paid $60 for each committee and full board meeting attended. They do not get the per diem or mileage if they don’t go to the meeting.

There are 36 committees, which includes a hiring subcommittee that only meets if they are hiring a department head.

La Salle County Board members’ total per diem (before taxes) for Dec. 1, 2016-Nov. 30, 2017, was $118,800. The chairman’s salary is an additional $66,000. The total mileage cost was $22,357.49 (which doesn’t include the chairman’s mileage).

They received approximately 53.5 cents per mile.

Source: LaSalle County Board Office Board Administrative Clerk Amanda Myers and county budget


Lee County

Population: 34,584 in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau

There are 24 members (including the chairman) on the Lee County Board. The total per diem (before taxes) for Dec. 1, 2016-Nov. 30, 2017, was $43,680, and the mileage was $6,558.02.

Members get paid $60 per monthly board meeting and $60 for committee meetings that they must attend to get paid. If they have two meetings in one day, they only get paid for one. The chairman gets an extra $500 a month for his position (not included in the earlier stated per diem total).

There is one full board monthly meeting. Six standing committees meet once a month, three ad hoc/sub committees meet periodically, and board members have additional assignments and appointments.

Source: Lori Miller, deputy clerk for Lee County Clerk and Recorder.


Bureau County

Population: 33,587 in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau

There are 26 members on the Bureau County Board, including the chairman, and they are paid $75 for each county board meeting and $25 for each committee meeting. They need to go to a meeting to be paid.

The total amount paid for per diem (before taxes) was $44,600.04, and the total reimbursement (which includes mileage, food, hotels) was $12,489.74. The total per diem included an $8,000 salary for the chairman. Board members received approximately 53.5 cents per mile.

Source: Bureau County Treasurer Courtney Mabry


Marshall County

Population: 11,982 in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

There are 12 board members on the Marshall County Board. The chairman’s salary is $5,000, and the vice chairman’s salary is $3,000. The per diem for the other 10 members for Dec. 1, 2016-Nov. 30, 2017, was $20,500 (which doesn’t include the chairman or vice chairman’s salary). The board members get paid every two weeks as a salary, and they get paid regardless if they come to a meeting or not.

As part of the $20,500, one board member got paid $500 extra because he’s the chairman for the buildings and ground committee.

The total mileage paid was $1,460.79 for four board members who turned mileage in for the time frame of Dec. 1, 2016-Nov. 30, 2017. Board members received approximately 53.5 cents per mile.

Source: Marshall County Clerk and Recorder Jill Piper.


Putnam County

Population: 5,644 in 2015, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

There are five members on the Putnam County Board, including a chairman. Board members get paid $40 for monthly board meetings and get paid $30 for outside meetings.

The per diem cost was $6,440, and the total cost for gas mileage was $1,505.44.

Chairman Steve Malavolti said he doesn’t get a special salary; he does it for “the joy of serving the people.” He said the amount of committee meetings they attend varies according to who can attend what, but he said the board tends to see more meetings when they’re creating the budget.

Board members get paid 56 cents a mile.