While leaders at both Oak Park school districts are close to or already out the door, village hall just locked in Village Manager Tom Barwin.

The village board voted 5-0 Monday to keep Barwin in Oak Park for another year. He’s getting a 2.24 percent raise, boosting his total pay to $165,411.

“It’s been a challenging 18 months and you have dealt with many issues, some known, some unknown, but you’ve done it with grace, dignity and class,” trustee Ray Johnson told Barwin.

Those issues include the village laying off more than 20 employees over the past few years to respond to slumping revenues, a parking system that was losing millions of dollars, and a controversial development project that was just approved.

Barwin came under fire last year after it was discovered that a consultant’s contract was allowed to balloon to $205,000 more than budgeted. A third-party investigation found no evidence of fraud in the overpayment.

Barwin will get a 7 percent “performance-based payment” for August 2008 to December 2009. That payment was part of Barwin’s original agreement with the village, which said he could get as much as 15 percent and as little as nothing. He’ll get a one-time bonus of $11,325 based on his performance.

Barwin suggested the board hold off on the bonus, worried that it might send the wrong message to unions at village hall. Some are being asked to take 0.5 percent or 1 percent pay increases, he said.

“It’s an honor working here,” said Barwin, who joined the village in August 2006, leaving Ferndale, Mich.

-Marty Stempniak

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