As Niles government appears to be undergoing a cultural shift from the era of to an era in which a more information is coming out about how employee bonuses were approved.
The Journal & Topics reported that other former village employees, in addition to former village managers without any records of the village board having approved those expenditures.
The newspaper said a former Public Services director, Teofilo Noriega, also received a $100,000 retirement bonus and a car, three other retiring employees received free or discounted cars, and several employees received retirement bonuses.
Hynes: board's lack of approval for bonuses could be illegal
At the May 22 village board meeting, about the fact that the 2002 $112,500 retirement bonus paid to Selman, and the 2005 $100,000 retirement bonus paid to Morrissey, plus the vehicles each received from the village, were never approved by the board. Hynes raised questions about the legality of that, and said the village has asked an independent law firm to look into what, if any, obligations it has.
Przybylo remembers phone call from Blase
On Thursday, trustee Andrew Przybylo, who was on the board when Selman and Morrissey retired, said he has a recollection of former mayor Blase, who served about 10 months in federal prison for corruption in 2010-11, phoning him to get his OK on her retirement bonus.
"I do believe Mayor Blase called me," Przybylo said. "I can't say what day it was, but I do recall with some certainty that he called me."
Trustees approved the financial payouts (in aggregate), Przybylo says
Przybylo said that even if the issue of the retirement bonuses had not been on the board meeting agendas in 2002 and 2005, and thus not called for a vote, trustees should have been aware of it because they vote every month to approve the village's payroll expenditures.
The payroll for all employees is shown in aggregate, so trustees would not have been able to break it down by individual payee. However, trustees could have noticed that the payroll was $100,000 greater than the previous month's payroll, Przybylo said.
He also noted that other municipalities give senior staff who are leaving significant bonuses.
Blase made phone calls, instead of calling votes, to get approvals
Przybylo said trustees had confidence in former Mayor Blase in those years, so it would not be unusual for the former mayor to call trustees individually to get their approval.
"There was a certain level of confidence in the mayor. He was mayor for 40 years," Przybylo said. "If you needed an explanation, you'd call.
"Aside from the fact he (Blase) did certain things wrong, his reputation today is still pretty good," Przybylo said. "Some people will highlight the negative. It depends on your perspective."