Study: Northbrook Village Manager is 4th Highest Paid in State

A new study shows that Richard Nahrstadt, who currently makes $236,689 including benefits, is the fourth highest paid village manager in the state and makes more money than Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Northbrook's village manager is the fourth highest paid village manager in the state of Illinois, according to a study by For the Good of Illinois, a group that advocates for small government.

Village Manger Richard Nahrstadt is listed in the study as receiving $236,689 in compensation.

His base salary is $191,937.50, according to Northbrook Village President Sandy Frum. The difference in numbers is due to the fact that For the Good Illinois calculates benefits and additional compensation into the numbers it used in the study.

“His total compensation included a buy back of accrued vacation days, and other benefits, as allowed by his contract," Frum explained.

She said that Nahrstadt, who was assistant village manager for 17 years before behing promoted in 2008, is compensated fairly.

"He has and continues to serve the Village with honor and distinction," Frum said. "His salary reflects our full faith and confidence in his ability to manage the Village in keeping with the high standards that our residents expect and deserve and that the Board and staff consistently deliver."      

Narhstadt offered his statement in an email to Northbrook Patch. 

"Over the past 21 years, I have had the privilege and honor of serving Northbrook," he wrote. "I am grateful to the residents as well as Village Boards past and present for the opportunity to serve our outstanding community. The majority of my professional life has been dedicated to the Village of Northbrook. I appreciate the support and am proud of the confidence that this community places in my leadership each and every day."

The study lists the 13 highest paid village managers in Illinois. Nahrstadt, according to the study, was fourth, and one of seven to make more money than Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Neighboring , according to the study.

Bruno Behrend, executive director of For the Good of Illinois, told Northbrook Patch that he believes the numbers his group lists for compensation are closer to reality.

“Our data represents the earned wages as they are reported to the various pension systems," he said. "It is a more accurate representation of the true cost to the taxpayer than the base salary contract.”

According to Open the Books, For the Good of Illinois’ data mining initiative of Illinois municipal budgets, wages for Northbrook Village employees have gone up by almost 50 percent since 2005. In 2005, total village salaries stood at $19,565,550 and in 2011 they were $28,016,097.

Behrend emphasized that larger salaries weren’t only a current commitment but normally increase the size of the yearly pension of each employee upon retirement.

The village's annual budget has had a milder increase. In 2007, total expenditures were $65,760,599 and in the current 2012/2013 the approved expenditures will be $86,976,284.

Dennis Byrne June 22, 2012 at 05:20 PM
fish June 22, 2012 at 06:54 PM
I have lived in Northbrook for two years and in my opinion, I think that this community is a great place to live. Not sure of the purpose of showing this man's rank in pay compared to other villages. If he was ranked eighth or ninth would you print it? I don't know him at all but believe that if he is in charge of this community, then he should be compensated well. He is not the sole reason why I enjoy living here but he is the one in charge. Unless I hear of any kickbacks for business or something else illegal like having village workers do personal things for him then I support his compensation.
Jeff Rowitz June 22, 2012 at 07:33 PM
In order to provide further information and context, the Village Board has made a strong commitment to maintain and improve the Village’s significant infrastructure investment. The Village’s FY 2012/13 budget includes $17.1 million in capital projects, which is $10.5 million more than FY 2006/07. These improvements include $5.3 million for water main replacement and $5.8 million for storm water mitigation. The largest storm water project during this fiscal year is Phase III of the Techny Drain, which is being completed in cooperation with Cook County. The Village will be reimbursed approximately $3 million. Additionally, it appears that an incorrect figure was used when comparing total Village salaries. According to the information posted on Open the Books, the most recent total salary figure was $25,582,545. The Village had 259 full-time employees in 2005 and 262 full time employees in 2010. These three additional positions represent sworn police officers that were anticipated and hired after the completion of Willow Festival shopping center.
Lori Lentz June 22, 2012 at 07:39 PM
I agree it is unbelievable. I have lived in Northbrook since 1962. It takes forever to plan anything in this town!!! Look at the downtown area- how long has it been this way? It looks like a ghost town. Don't get me wrong, I love Northbrook but this town is managed way t o o o o o slow!
Deb June 22, 2012 at 09:32 PM
I want to be the Village Manager!
John V June 23, 2012 at 03:53 AM
This pay is out of line. There is no way he should be making more than the mayor of Chicago. This is basically a 9 to 5 job with a huge pension at the end. He and other government employees should be watched closely to make sure they are actually at their jobs and doing their work. There is no control over these employees. THE ENTITLEMENT needs to stop.
fish June 23, 2012 at 02:29 PM
It may be a 9 to 5 job, but it could also be sixty hours a week. Most really don't know all that goes on, including myself. You are right that all govt. employees should be watched closely. I think all public and private employees should be watched closely. We all know people making half a million or more that don't put in the time or deserve the responsibility they have. I have no problem paying my plumber $135 an hour because I need their service. I think govt. employees get the target because it is our dime that is paying their salaries. Emmanuel should make more for his job. He probably gets more perks then we would ever be able to comprehend such as a driver, carte blanche in the city and most importantly, power. When I ask people how much a certain govt employee should make, I always hear no more than $100,000. Should people with Masters Degrees, experience and helping people in communities get only $100,000 after twenty years of service when other private positions make much more? Many bright and great people won't take jobs unless they are paid well. It is tough to draw the line as to what someone should be paid.
Paul Cohen June 23, 2012 at 02:58 PM
I want his job. Will do it for half of his pay.
Stan Golovchuk (Editor) June 25, 2012 at 01:24 AM
While we appreciate the thoughtful responses this story has inspired from our readers, please do not use the Patch comment section to make libelous remarks about residents in the Northbrook community. If you have a news tip that needs investigating, submit it to northbrook@patch.com. Thanks.
Mark June 29, 2012 at 08:09 PM
I have no issue with the salary, but I take great exception to the pension we are left with to fulfill. Allow the employees to invest their own income, the way the VAST majority of us have to do. Most of us do not have this luxury. Frankly, why should I be on the hook for a pension, paid with my tax dollars? I never agreed to this? If Northbrook currently has a payroll of $25,000,000 in 2012, potentially, the residents are on the hook for about $17,000,000 a year on these salaries when they turn to pensions. It is unsustainable. We can't afford the skyrocketing property taxes, sales taxes, fees, etc.
Alysa fields January 10, 2013 at 04:38 AM
Well said Mark, I'm sick of pensions


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