Lake County employee salaries

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Lake County employee salaries are public record under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.


Lake County officials did not respond to an Illinois Freedom of Information Act request for data on county employee salaries, particularly those individuals earning more than $150,000 annually. Sunshine Review requested the information for the years 2008 to 2011.

On the Lake County website there is a grid of employee salary ranges.[1]

2011 salaries

According to a database compiled by the Better Government Association, there were 19 Lake County employees earning more than $150,000 in 2011.[2]

  • Barry Burton, the county administrator, earned $222,547.27
  • Stuart Slaw, an OBGYN with the county health department, earned $225,718.22
  • Lake County Medical Director Zulima Hurtado earned $218,566.41
  • Maria Escalona, an OBGYN with the county health department, earned $206,000.08
  • Badr Javed, a psychiatrist in county employ, earned $201,559.38
  • Narreinar Williams, a physician with the county health department, earned $200,000.06
  • Tom Gladfelter, also a Medical Director with the county health department, earned $198,847.22
  • Beth Fraum, a psychiatrist with the health department, earned $191,256
  • Irene Pierce, executive director of the health department, earned $187,218.20
  • Martin Buehler, county transportation director, earned $186,245.02
  • Sayeeda Kadir, a physician with the health department, earned $170,089.92
  • Teresita Mismanos, a county physician, earned $170,089.92
  • State's Attorney Michael Waller earned $166,507.91
  • Danilo Alesna, a county physician, earned $163,376.72
  • Robert Zastany, executive director of the courts for the 19th Judicial Circuit, earned $160,885.80
  • Philip Rovang, director of planning, earned $155,758.72
  • Robert Grunsten, a psychiatrist, earned $154,216.03
  • Public Works Direcotr Peter Kolb earned $153,966.02
  • Gary Gordon, financial director, earned $153,155.86

County board members

  • County Board Member Linda Pedersen earned $42,480.10
  • County Board Member Diane Hewitt earned $42,480.10
  • County Board Member Jim Newton earned $42,480.10
  • County Board Member Brent Paxton earned $40,945.05
  • County Board Member Bonnie Carter earned $42,480.10
  • County Board Member Melinda Bush earned $42,480.10
  • County Board Member Steve Carlson earned $40,945.05
  • County Board Member Bill Durkin earned $40,945.05
  • County Board Member Mary Ross Cunningham earned $42,480.10
  • County Board Member Diana O'Kelly earned $42,480.10
  • County Board Member Patrice Carey earned $42,480.10
  • County Board Member Angelo Kyle earned $42,480.10
  • County Board Member Susan Gravenhorst earned $42,480.10
  • County Board Member Audrey Nixon earned $42,480.10
  • County Board Member Carol Calabresa earned $40,945.05
  • County Board Member Terry Wilke earned $42,480.10
  • County Board Member Stevenson Mountsier earned $42,480.10
  • County Board Member Aaron Lawlor earned $40,945.05
  • County Board Chairman David Stolman earned $81,890.12
  • County Board Member Ann Maine earned $42,480.10
  • County Board Member Michelle Feldman earned $42,480.10
  • County Board Member Anne Bassi earned $40,945.05


Lake County offers multiple benefits to full-time employees.[3]

Lake County provided data on benefits in dollars provided to those county employees earning more than $150,000 following a public records request.[4]

2010 paid benefits

  • Danilo Alesna paid $19,930.92
  • Robert Zastany paid $22,124.12
  • Michael Waller paid $18,894.22
  • Stuart Slaw paid $21,183.90
  • Irene Pierce paid $10,862.48
  • Suzanne Schmidt paid $14,049.76
  • Diana O'Kelly paid $19,054.92
  • Martin Paulson paid $19,820.06
  • Brent Paxton paid $18,826.12
  • Tom Gladfelter paid $20,993.70
  • Gary Gordon paid 20,069.94
  • Carol Calebresa paid $15,508.46
  • Bonnie Carter paid $13,416.76
  • Joy Gossman paid $20,170.78
  • Diane Hewitt paid $16,280.56
  • Badr Javed paid $19,974.86
  • Zulima Hurtado paid $16,067.24
  • Peter Kolb paid $21,287.56

2009 paid benefits

  • Alesna paid $20,617.44
  • Barry Burton paid $19,850.56
  • Gladfelter paid $19,188.28
  • Gordon paid $20,692.26
  • Joy Gossman paid $20,902.32
  • Hurtado paid $14,826.96
  • Kolb paid $21,433.66
  • O'Kelly paid $19,632.96
  • Paulson paid $19,893.96
  • Paxton paid $19,390.56
  • Pierce paid $10,075.68
  • Schmidt paid $14,492.28
  • Slaw paid $21,757.68
  • Waller paid $19,509.12
  • Zastany paid $22,935.36

2008 paid benefits

  • Alesna paid $19,694.40
  • Burton paid $18,959.04
  • Bonnie Carter paid $17,202.72
  • Gladfelter paid $17,817.12
  • Gossman paid $19,966.06
  • Hurtado paid $13,142.40
  • Javed paid $19,740.48
  • O'Kelly paid $18,678.24
  • Paulson paid $19,543.44
  • Paxton paid $18,443.04
  • Pierce paid $8,915.16
  • Slaw paid $20,321.64
  • Waller paid $17,498.52
  • Randall Whitmore paid $18,443.04
  • Zastany paid $21,917.04

Salary records project

In 2011, Sunshine Review chose 152 local governments as the focus of research on public employee salaries. The editors of Sunshine Review selected eight states with relevant political contexts (listed alphabetically):

1. California
2. Florida
3. Illinois
4. Michigan
5. New Jersey
6. Pennsylvania
7. Texas
8. Wisconsin

Within these states, the editors of Sunshine Review focused on the most populous cities, counties and school districts, as well as the emergency services entities within these governments. The purpose of this selection method was to develop articles on governments affecting the most citizens.

The salary information garnered from these states were a combination of existing online resources and state Freedom of Information Act requests sent out to the governments.

Importance of public employee pay disclosure

In July 2010, The Los Angeles Times uncovered that officials in Bell, California were making remarkably high salaries.[5] Chief Administrative Officer Robert Rizzo was earning a yearly $787,637. It was later uncovered that Rizzo's total compensation after taking benefits into account topped $1.5 million a year.[6]

For comparison:[5]

  • Manhattan Beach, with about 7,000 fewer people than Bell, paid its most recent city manager $257,484 a year.
  • Long Beach, with a population close to 500,000, paid its city manager $235,000 annually.
  • Los Angeles County paid its chief executive, William T. Fujioka, $338,458.

Corruption solution

After this report was released, governments began to proactively disclose salary information of their employees. Before the end of the summer of 2010, more than a dozen cities in Orange County, for example, posted salary information on the front pages of their websites.[7]

The cost of transparency websites maintaining such information ranges from the tens of thousands to the hundreds of thousands. These websites also save money, and this often is not taken into account when measuring costs.

Citizens upset about the breach of trust and armed with information formed a group called the Bell Association to Stop the Abuse, which pushed for an independent audit of city salaries and contracts.[8]

Citizens, empowered with information, are key to keeping government free from corruption and efficient. A study published by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia revealed that the city of Philadelphia has a problem with the efficiency and costs of public employee pensions.[9] The amount that Philadelphia pays to pension recipients limits the city’s ability to use its budget effectively.

The report revealed that there were more individuals receiving pension benefits—33,907 claimants in 2006—than workers in the city—28,701.[9] The authors of the study recommend three steps towards addressing the problem of high costs in pensions.[9] First, improve data collection so that decision-making in terms of pension policies is more informed. Second, promote transparency for better accountability to citizens. Third, reduce costs and use the savings for developing Philadelphia.

Resistance to public employee salary data as public records

The idea of making public employee salaries is relatively new. In 2008, several local government employee associations and unions protested the posting of state employee salaries by newspaper The Sacramento Bee.[10][11] At the time, it was seen as a safety risk and invasion of privacy.

Sunshine Review aims in posting salary information

Publicly posted salaries often leave out important information. Salary schedules can be published as ranges, not as specific take-home compensation, and high-level, highly-paid positions are often not disclosed proactively.[7][6] Additionally, salaries leave out compensation received through health and retirement benefits, as well as benefits such as commuter allowances and cell phone reimbursements. This project aimed to close the gap and provide a more accurate picture of public employee salaries for the sake of public education and transparency.

See also

External links