Naperville Park District Executive Director, Ray McGury, The Happiest Guy In Naperville

It’s been said that money can’t make you happy, but if it does, then Ray McGury, the executive director of the Naperville Park District has to be the happiest guy in Naperville. Does anybody get paid more for doing less? I don’t think so, but I am open for nominations.

Consider this, the entire Naperville city council’s base compensation, including the mayor, totals $125,000 per year; $12,500 per council member X 8, plus $25,000 for the mayor. McGury’s base compensation is almost $208,000 per year. Additionally McGury receives $10,000 per year in deferred compensation, along with over $7,000 for auto allowance. That is an obscene base compensation package for someone who’s biggest decision is where to install a park bench and what color it will be.

McGury has been the park district executive director for nearly 10 years. Prior to that, he was the Bolingbrook Chief of Police from 2005 through 2008. It was during this period of time of his leadership that Drew Peterson was employed and receiving paychecks while Peterson’s fourth wife disappeared October of 2007, and has never been found. Peterson was subsequently found guilty for the death of his third wife and is serving a lengthy stay at the Graybar Hotel.

McGury understandably thought it would be a good idea to depart from his Bolingbrook position, and miraculously landed with the Naperville Park District. The board of the park district must have thought that McGury was the Messiah of Parks because they started him with a can’t-say-no compensation package, that has been escalating each and every year.

The Naperville Park District has a $39.6 million budget with an expected $43.5 million in revenues, yet the park district has inflicted an escalation in program fees and a property tax hike, in essence a sucker-punch to the residents of Naperville. How many families and kids won’t be able to utilize the park district programs because of fee increases, a portion of which, is earmarked to keep McGury employed.

McGury said, the increased fees are needed “so we can then allocate that money elsewhere for other things in the community”. By ‘other things’, that would include McGury’s compensation.

McGury also stated, “I remain honored to have the opportunity to lead a district that enriches the quality of life of residents”. By that comment, he is likely referring to ‘enriching the quality of his own life’. McGury also said that he was reluctant to discuss his compensation. Everything considered, that’s understandable.

McGury isn’t the culprit, it’s the Naperville Park District board members. If they are willing to over-compensate him, why shouldn’t he accept what they are offering. Wouldn’t most of us reading this do the same thing.

Getting back to the budget, the Naperville Park District appropriates a surplus over the budget to deal with unexpected expenses. Things come up like the time McGury was offered a position in a neighboring community. McGury mentioned it to the board, and bingo, another hefty compensation increase was thrown at McGury to stay, and he stayed. McGury is not the culprit.

McGury invested 21 years with the Naperville Police Department (prior to Bolingbrook) and attained the position of captain. He served and sacrificed, and for that I am grateful.

Naperville families are probably grateful too. But Naperville families do not need a property tax hike, and escalating park district program fees by the park district board.

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1 Comment

  1. Jim Haselhorst

    The real crime here is the property tax portion of the Park District Budget. Not only has it been increasing but it has been earmarked for capital improvements (like the new “barn’ Building and the Fitness Center) meaning it is not really needed to cover day to day operations, it just a nice slush fund to have around for pet projects.

    McGury compensation is also radically out of proportion for his duties. Doug Krieger is paid at least 10% less then McGury and he oversee the whole city government which has 10 times the budget and more then 10 employees for every 1 employed by the Park District. Some might say that Naperville Park District has received awards and distinctions that make it one the the best in the country, but this same statement can be made for the City.

    McGury seems like a nice guy but compensation should not be base on how nice a person you are or how long you have held a the job but on the duties and responsibilities of the job and the complexity of these duties and responsibilities as measured using benchmarks that can be applied equally to all government employees in an area, region, community, etc. In McGury’s case this standard does not seem to the bases for his compensation, it seem to be based more on the “good old boys” standard, which history has taught us is prone to abuse.

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