Oak Lawn Village Manager Larry Deetjen has received over $40,000 in car allowances, about $14,000 in “differential” pay, and $7,000 in sick incentive pay after his contract expired and without any board action approving the expenditures.
Deetjen signed a contract effective July 30, 2007 that expired on May 1, 2009. The contract provided that Deetjen would receive “an auto allowance of $500 a month toward use of his personal vehicle for village business, provided the vehicle is registered in Illinois”. Deetjen has received a $6,000 a year payment from the village, categorized as “car allowance” despite the fact that the Illinois Secretary of State records as of February 2015 did not list any vehicle owned by Deetjen in Illinois.
Deetjen drives a Village of Oak Lawn owned vehicle that is provided by the village. According to the expired contract, Deetjen was entitled to the village car but was required to house it on village property. Instead, he parks it outside his condominium.
The car allowance, which adds up to unapproved payments of $40,000 through 2015, was only one of several payments Deetjen has received despite never receiving authorization from the board. He has received $7,000 in what village records label as a “sick incentive”. His original contract, provided Deetjen 24 days of sick leave when he began his employment. Union employees do have a contractual provision whereby “employees who use zero (0) days of sick time in a calendar year shall receive (the) one thousand dollar ($1,000) payment …” The Village of Oak Lawn’s Code of Ordinances set forth the benefits for other employees, including health and vision benefits. The ordinance does not set forth any payment known as “sick incentive” for non-union employees in the code.
Deetjen has also received about $14,000 in “differential” compensation even though neither his original contract or the village code provides for such a payment. “Differential” isn’t even defined in the contract or the code of ordinances. The federal government provides for “differential” pay to employees who work in areas with a higher cost of living than the same employee in a different area of the country.
The village’s code of ordinances states that the village manager’s salary is set by the Board of Trustees. Despite this fact, Deetjen has increased his own salary and compensation without any board vote. The original contract expired in 2009. In addition, according to the Illinois Municipal Code, the contract cannot extend past the Mayor’s term of office. In the case of the original contract, former Mayor Heilmann’s term expired in May 2009.
The information provided on the chart below came from the Village of Oak Lawn in response to our Freedom of Information request.