Moline Township supervisor candidates at odds about salary raises

Originally Posted Online: April 06, 2013, 11:52 pm
Last Updated: April 07, 2013, 12:37 am
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By Stephen Elliott,

MOLINE - Tony Holland says he again wants people to vote for him for Moline Township supervisor.

Mr. Holland, a Republican who ran unsuccessfully for county recorder in November 2012, said last month he was not asking people to vote for him, even though his name was on the ballot as a challenger to Democratic incumbent Don Johnston.

Mr. Holland said he had been told Mr. Johnston would challenge his candidacy. To be township supervisor, candidates must have lived in the township for 12 months before their party's caucus. Mr. Holland said he missed that window by two weeks.

Mr. Johnston did not challenge Mr. Holland's nominating papers in the week after he filed for the election, which usually is when challenges are made, and said in March he would not take the matter to court, even if Mr. Holland won.

He repeated that on Friday.

"There isn't a judge in the world that would throw him off (the ballot)," Mr. Johnston said.

"Don never challenged me," Mr. Holland said on Friday. "I am running. One of the big reasons I am running is to give the people of Moline Township a choice.

"At this point, if I win on Tuesday, Mr. Johnston will have to challenge the results in court. He's indicated he wouldn't."

One issue brought up in recent weeks by Republican candidates is Moline Township salaries.

The total township fund was $835,774 for fiscal year April 2011 to March 2012. Of that, $559,431 came from property tax.

Annual financial statements provided by Mr. Johnston on Friday showed that on the expense side, total personnel costs were $357,645. That included $275,050 in township salaries. Other personnel expenses include health insurance benefit ($34,527), Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund benefits ($26,412), FICA benefits ($17,053), Medicare benefits ($3,998) and unemployment insurance ($614).

Mr. Johnston's supervisor's salary is $44,731. Moline Township Assessor David Hendrickx, who is running unopposed, receives $49,949 effective January 2012.

Effective May 20, 2013, Mr. Johnston's salary will be $45,626. Effective January 2013, Mr. Hendrickx salary is $52,446.

Open the Books, a project of For The Good of Illinois Inc., a 501(c)(4) nonpartisan, nonprofit organization founded in 2007 by Adam Andrzejewski, lists salaries of Illinois state and local employees, including township officials.

According to Open the Books, Mr. Johnston made $28,641 in 2006, the year he was appointed to the position.

Mr. Johnston said he likes the idea of the salary website, but questions its accuracy. He said according to township records, he made $33,379 in 2006. Township assessor David Hendrickx was elected in April 2005. According to Open the Books, his salary was $35,496 in 2005.

Mr. Johnston said salaries are set 180 days before the new term by the township board of trustees.

Mr. Johnston said he was made aware of the website this week. "As soon as I looked at it, I saw so much inaccuracy," he said.

"I was a trustee, a clerk and then a supervisor."

Mr. Johnston said he doesn't think the salaries are excessive, and questions why Moline Township is singled out without looking at all of the townships in the county, especially days before the election.

"I think we earn it," he said. "It's about half of what a chief deputy in the county gets, well, a little more than half. About three-fifths. Quite frankly, I think the ones (employees) we have here in the township are fantastic, and frankly, they work for less money than what they do in the county."

Mr. Holland said he disagrees.

"I work full time, and I don't make that much money," he said. "There's no reason for a part-time position to make that much money. That is my feeling about elected positions. There is way too much pay and benefits.

"Definitely, a better job can be done."

Mr. Johnston said Moline Township government operates a tight budget, with a tax rate of 21 cents per $100 Equalized Assessed Evaluation.

"Is it a full-time job, probably not," Mr. Johnston said. "But, it's not necessarily a part-time job. I'm down here at 5:30 a.m., 6 a.m., most mornings. On Saturdays, we deliver food baskets to the needy.

"At night, we're down here when they have concerts in the park. Many things keep us here many different hours. I don't think the salary is way out of line.

"We have an activity center."

On Friday, seniors were inside for an exercise class.

"Township is the closest government to the people," Mr. Johnston said. "People don't understand what we do is the main thing. We're the last stop for an individual in general assistance, which is probably our largest responsibility.

"An individual can come in and get $320 a month if he or she qualifies. They have to come in five days a week and sign up for three job applications. That's 15 job applications a week, and we check on them. Believe it or not, 75 or 80 percent of our people find jobs, which is an incredible record."

He said clients range from 35 to 60 per month searching for a job and asking for assistance.

Mr. Johnston said the township has seven employees, four of which are full time.

A number of seniors come through offices on Tuesday and Friday mornings for surplus bread.

"You'll see a whole troop of senors grabbing the bread," Mr. Johnston said. "There is a real need for that. HyVee has been exceptional with that."

Mr. Johnston said Moline Township serves its constituents.

"I think it's a good bang for the buck for the services they get," he said.

NAME: Don Johnston
AGE: 64
OCCUPATION: Moline Township supervisor
FAMILY: Sons, Don and Jason
EDUCATION: Attended Blackhawk College
OFFICE SOUGHT: Moline Township supervisor
PRIOR OFFICES: Moline Township trustee, Moline Township clerk
WHY RUNNING: To continue to serve the citizens of the township with general assistance, return to work program, medical programs, etc.
KEY ISSUE: Helping out-of-work individuals find work. Our program requires general assistance clients to come to the township and use our computers to make three applications for a day, five days per week. Seventy five percent to 80 percent of our clients find work. Continue to operate the Moline Township Activity Center with programs that attract citizens from all over R.I. County.

NAME: Bonnie Johnson
AGE:  51
OCCUPATION: Insurance claims adjuster
FAMILY: Married with three kids of my own; three step-children and lots of grand babies.
EDUCATION: MHS and Scott community college
OFFICE SOUGHT: Moline Township trustee.
PRIOR OFFICE: Three-term incumbent
WHY RUNNING: I am running for this position because I want to be involved in the present and future concerns of our township and to help with those concerns.

NAME: Robert D. (Bob) Harley
AGE: 64
OCCUPATION: Retired union plumber/pipefitter
FAMILY: Wife, Marsha, and four children
EDUCATION: Moline High School, Black Hawk College, AA math.
POLITICAL PARTY: Conservative Republican
OFFICE SOUGHT: Moline Township trustee
PRIOR OFFICE(S): Church and club offices
WHY RUNNING: To give the taxpayers of Moline Township a vote on the Moline Township Board.
KEY ISSUE: Disposition of Moline Township tax dollars.
COMMENTS: Having watched the one-sided politics of our area since 1965, the taxpayers of Moline Township deserve a say in the use of their tax dollars.

NAME: Ethel Perez
AGE: 82
ADDRESS: Moline 
FAMILY: Husband, Harry; two children and two stepchildren
EDUCATION: High school graduate
OFFICE SOUGHT: Moline Township trustee
PRIOR OFFICE: Current township trustee
COMMENT: Our township is very involved with our community. We have a senior center which provides many activities for seniors. People looking for work come in and use the computer. We participate in delivering food baskets for the Angel Food program to those who have no transportation.

NAME: J.K. "Jan" Erikson-Vroman
AGE: None listed
FAMILY: Husband, B.J. Vroman Jr.; son and daughter-in-law, Chad and Victoria Vroman and grandsons, Cameron and Carson 
EDUCATION: Black Hawk College
OFFICE SOUGHT: Moline Township clerk
PRIOR OFFICE: Moline Township trustee
WHY RUNNING: Because townships are very important to me. They serve people who need, and qualify for, assistance.
KEY ISSUE: I believe the general assistance programs offered at Moline Township are the balance our clients need to attain their goals and restore their faith in the workplace. The Moline Activity Card has a variety of programs for citizens, such as healthy lifestyles, coffee & cards, exercise classes, line dancing, book club, potluck luncheons and more. These events not only bring people together, they assist in the productivity of our community.


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