Markham interim mayor’s pay raise catches attention of watchdog group
Markham Interim Mayor Ernest Blevins unilaterally ordered a pay raise for himself, increasing his compensation by more than $70,000, in addition to ordering over $30,000 in back pay, according to a recent report from Project Six, a government watchdog group.
“Elected officials using their government positions to enrich themselves is nothing new in Illinois,” Project Six CEO Faisal Khan said in a press release about the report. “But what Mayor Blevins did in Markham is beyond the pale. The issue here is not about Blevins’ rightful salary, the issue is an elected official taking matters into his own hands, going around the law and City Council to cut himself a check.”
Blevins was appointed interim mayor following the resignation of David Webb Jr., who was facing indictment on bribery charges, according to the report. Markham voters elected a different man, Roger Agpawa, but he was prevented from serving due to a felony conviction for mail fraud from 1999. Agpawa is going through the courts to contest the rule, but Blevins is serving as mayor in the meantime.
While the municipality is facing budget cutbacks, Blevins ordered that his salary be increased from what he received as an alderman to what he would receive as the elected mayor, the report said. He also ordered that he be paid back pay for the months that he served as interim mayor without the pay increase.
“Mayor Blevins had an opportunity to lead by example, and run a corruption-ridden jurisdiction openly and honestly,” Khan said in the release. “But instead Blevins exploited his position to make a profit. Markham deserves better.”