Homewood Police Reports: Oct. 31, 2015

Homewood Trustee Ray Robertson, left, congratulates 
John Bailey, one of the seven people appointed to the 
board of directors of the nonprofit organization 
charged with overseeing the Homewood 
Community Science Center. 

(Photo by Quincy Crump/HF Chronicle)

Village officials set a salary of $60,000 to $80,000 for the Homewood Community Science Center’s executive director post and named seven residents to the founding board of directors. Village board members took the actions at the Dec. 8 meeting.

Trustee Ray Robertson cast the lone dissenting vote against a budget amendment regarding the salary. The budget amendment, for $13,000, is not related to the full salary, but for a two month period between next March 1 – when the director is likely to be in place – and April 30, when the village’s fiscal year comes to an end. The director’s full salary will go into place after that and be covered by the 2017 budget.

“I can’t support this,” Robertson said. “This is a project that came to the village board years ago that was not going to cost us anything. We’ve spent about a half million dollars of taxpayer money already on the building, $160,000 or so in the plans and now all of a sudden this is under the village. The village is going to hire an employee to do this. This was never supposed to cost the taxpayers anything.”

“I just don’t think this should be coming out of taxpayer money at this time,” Robertson said.

Village officials bought the former Ryan Funeral Home, the science center site, in December 2015. The building was purchased for $475,000 with funds from the Central Business District tax increment financing district.

Homewood Mayor Richard Hofeld, who voted with the board to approve the measure, disagreed with Robertson.

“I think it’s a very good step for the village,” Hofeld said. “I think it’s farsighted and I think the board is acting as visionaries.”

A Dec. 4 memo from Marino states that essential experience for the director position includes nonprofit leadership, successful fundraising, and a proven track record of developing and implementing a strategic initiative. A job description will be posted Dec. 22. Village Manager Jim Marino said he expects the executive director to be hired by March 1.

The salary will come from the general fund, “which has been bolstered by $424,000 received from the sale of Derby Road to Menards,” Marino wrote in a memo to the board. The village will pay the director’s salary for up to three years, after which the science center revenue should be able to cover the expense, he added.

Of 28 area residents who applied for the science center’s founding board of directors, seven were selected. All will serve as volunteers. They are Homewood residents John Bailey, Amy Crump, Paige Dague, Elizabeth (Betsy) Soehren-Jones and Patricia Messersmith and Flossmoor residents Aimee Matthys and Michelle Svetlic Nelson.

The first meeting of the science center board is scheduled for Dec. 14.

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