Sue Scarpiniti

North Riverside trustees at their regular business meeting on May 15 voted unanimously to reappoint Sue Scarpiniti as village administrator and approved a new two-year contract that raises her annual salary to $196,250.

Scarpiniti’s contract expires May 5, 2025, which coincides with the end of Mayor Joseph Mengoni’s term of office.

“I think she’s done a fantastic job,” Mengoni said of Scarpiniti. “She has the finances down, the ins and outs. When I sit in on meetings with her, I think, ‘She’s got her own.’ That’s what this village needs, somebody with strong leadership.”

Hired full time in 2001 as North Riverside’s finance director after working on a contract basis for two years, Scarpiniti was elevated to interim village administrator in early 2020 just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

She remained in that capacity until May 2021 after Mengoni was elected mayor that spring and he removed the interim tag. At that time, the village board voted to award Scarpiniti a two-year contract and an annual salary of $185,000.

The new contract, apart from the pay raise and new end date, contains language identical to the first one. In addition to the salary, the village will contribute $7,500 a year into a deferred compensation plan for Scarpiniti. She gets 26 vacation days and six paid days off per year, and the village will provide her with a vehicle and $1,200 annually as a cellphone stipend.

Mengoni said that although village trustees are faced annually with potential hefty operating budget deficits, Scarpiniti manages the finances throughout in a way to keep the budget on track.

“This is my 11th budget,” said Mengoni, who served two terms as a trustee before being elected mayor. “Everyone gets so scared [of projected deficits] but we always do good. She holds the line when things need to be delayed, so it never scares me when we go into these discussions.”

Change in legal counsel on tap?

One matter that was originally on the village board’s May 15 agenda – but was pulled a short time after the agenda was first published on May 12 – was a change in the firm that serves as the village’s general legal counsel.

The resolution pulled from the agenda would have authorized the mayor to appoint the firm of Storino, Ramello & Durkin as North Riverside’s general counsel. The firm has been serving as the village’s lead labor counsel since 2021.

Storino, Ramello & Durkin, which has served as legal counsel for the village of Brookfield since 2005, specializes in state and local government law and represents municipalities and townships, park districts and school districts.

While they haven’t represented North Riverside in a general legal capacity in more 20 years, Mengoni said the firm has long ties to the village.

In May 2021 when Storino, Ramello & Durkin was appointed labor counsel, Mengoni appointed the firm of Peterson, Johnson, Murray as North Riverside’s general legal counsel.

Mengoni said he was thinking of keeping both firms on retainer but flip-flopping their duties.

“We’re in discussions about possibly changing,” Mengoni told the Landmark. “Our in-house counsel has great labor relations attorneys that I want to capitalize on, and our current labor counsel has a longstanding connection to the community.”