Oak Park’s village board has one employee. And last week the board gave her a 6 percent pay raise.
That brings Village Manager Cara Pavlicek to an annual salary of $187,000. Not bad. In the four years since she was promoted from parking tsar to acting and then permanent manager, Pavlicek has seen her salary rise from $157,000 to the current level. That averages out to about a 5 percent annual hike. Certainly on the high end of average but not in any way unreasonable.
As multiple trustees and Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb said last week in OKing the hike, Pavlicek has done a strong job as manager during interesting times.
Oak Park’s last manager, Tom Barwin, was fired because he could not get the village’s dysfunctional building and property standards department fixed. With savvy restructuring of the broad architecture of economic development by the mayor and board, Pavlicek has seen to the internal remaking of that department and everything else tied to business services in Oak Park. A combination of new and rearranged staff, new organizational structure and a major investment in overdue software has made this key aspect of village government a turnaround story.
It is an indication that the manager listens well to her bosses but then brings expertise and insight to the fix. There are other indications of progress. We are supportive of the major hires she has made among department heads, of the consolidation of roles she has overseen. And she gets points for forging a tight working relationship with a mayor who has a singular focus on economic development. She both stays out of Abu-Taleb’s way and provides bumpers and support for his efforts.
This is not an easy job. That four years in she enjoys wide support on the village board is a notable accomplishment.