River Forest trustees voted unanimously to give a raise to the village’s top employee at their board meeting on Jan. 14, raising Village Administrator Eric Palm’s salary by nearly 3 percent, to $185,000 per year with additional benefits. The raise is effective May 1. Trustee Mike Gibbs was absent from the meeting.
Palm received the pay bump because he “exceeded” several goals the village board set for him during fiscal years 2018 and 2019, including approved plan development permits for five-story, mixed-use development at Lake Street and Lathrop Avenue, and four-story senior facility at Chicago and Harlem avenues; creation of a tax increment financing (TIF) district on North Avenue; recruiting a new finance director; and more. Members of the village board and Palm work together to define and prioritize goals for him each year.
“I think this is a great contract and I’m glad to have Eric,” Village President Cathy Adduci said at the meeting. “Keep up the great work.”
In addition to the annual pay bump, the new agreement includes an increased car allowance of $6,000 per year and cellphone allowance of $1,200 annually. Palm will also receive a one-time bonus of $10,000, because he exceeded the village’s goals in fiscal 2018, along with a one-time contribution $14,800 “to a deferred compensation plan” that Palm chooses because he exceeded the goals in fiscal 2019.
“The achievement of these goals is a team effort and I am pleased to lead a talented staff of employees who are dedicated to serve the community,” Palm said in an email. “It is a pleasure and honor to serve the community and I appreciate the continued support from the village president and board of trustees.”
Palm has worked for the village since 2010, coming to River Forest from Hampshire, a northwest suburb about 50 miles away. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Northern Illinois University and a bachelor’s degree in telecommunication arts from Butler University.
His contract also reimburses Palm for “all reasonable” employment-related expenses, like traveling out of town for business, and promises to make a “reasonable effort to annually budget and to pay” for him to continue professional development at conferences, like the International City/County Management Association, State League of Municipalities, Annual Conference of the Illinois City Management Association and more.
The village’s contract with Palm expires in May 2021, which coincides with the end of the village president’s current term in office.