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What Budget Crisis? Highland Park Officials (Legally!) Loot City

Chicago Tribune 31 July 2010 No Comment

Parks officials in the northern suburb say it was a good use of taxpayer dollars, even though the off-the-charts spending spree included giving the three executives nearly $700,000 in bonuses while paying one of them $185,120 for no work and signing over an SUV to him as he left town.

The Park District acknowledges it did so, in part, to pad the executives’ pensions, a practice pension officials say is wrong. The district’s 58-year-old former executive director is now paid more in retirement — $166,000 a year — than he was typically paid to run the agency.

Board president Lorry Werhane says he doesn’t regret the payments, but the district has stopped giving out new bonuses and is hiring an outside firm to review compensation policies because of the sluggish economy.

“We were doing what was in the best interests of the Park District, and that is rewarding employees for a job well done, and continuing to recruit and attract and retain employees of the highest caliber,” Werhane said.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune

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