On Thursday July 13, the Peoria County Board will vote to increase the salary of our Administrator, Patrick Urich, to $130,000.00 yearly for five years effective Jan. 1, 2006. While Mr. Urich’s salary is set at the discretion of the full board, the recommended raise came from the Management Services Committee headed by Mike Phelan. The contract was unanimously approved in Executive session on July 22. I suspect that the full board vote will be close to if not unanimous in accepting the Executive Committees recommendations.
Since Mr. Urich has theoretically been working without a contract since Jan. 1 and has not been negotiating a new contract, unlike some unions representing county employees who were working also without a contract but had been made offers they refused, the Executive Committee will recommend the contract be backdated to Jan. 1, 2006.
While I agree that comparatively Mr. Urich is a steal at $98,000 he is paid now, I would have preferred to have given him more incremental raises than a one time boost thru 2010. (Bonnie Noble, PPD, was boosted from $126,300.00 in 2004 to $130,600.00 in 2005 and Herschel Hannah and Cynthia Fischer Associate Administrators at Peoria School District #150 were boosted from the high nimieties to $130,000 recently. Some part timers in administration make as much as $218.00 per half day at #150.)
With the board’s guidance and Mr. Urich’s ability, Peoria County has made significant progress since 2001. It is the Executive Committees reasoning that we would be better off paying Mr. Urich close to “market price” than to lose him and start a search for someone as talented, experienced and hard working for perhaps a possibly lower salary.
It is my belief that Mr. Urich and his family enjoy working and living in Peoria, I believe the county and community will be fortunate to retain him at least thru 2010.
Recently, I was quoted in a local newspaper that mounting benefits granted employees in the public sector will haunt future generations. I also stated that it is difficult to run government like an efficient private entity. Mr. Urich and present and future boards will be under greater pressure to keep Peoria County fiscally responsible. If we are to pay public employees larger salaries, benefits and pensions, these public servants must generate greater efficiency and productivity. It is the board’s responsibility to carefully guide and then evaluate the performance of the one administrator reporting directly to them. It is not in the public’s interest to build more bureaucracy into our existing systems.
With the voters help, I will continue to work with and give my business experience guidance to Mr. Urich and the board over the next few years.