For running a blue-collar western suburb, taxpayers paid Roy McCampbell $472,255 last year -- the highest total compensation of any suburban municipal executive -- and village officials now say they're not sure why.
McCampbell, known as one of the first suburban officials to push red-light cameras, said he did the work of 10 people for Bellwood -- comptroller, administrator, public safety CEO, finance director, budget director, human resources director, mayoral assistant, corporation counsel, property commission director and development corporation officer -- and was paid like it."I didn't hold a gun to anybody's head to get this," he said of his pay. "I'm not trying to do anything bad."
McCampbell's contract granted him generous vacation, personal and sick days. He accumulated nearly five months' worth of such days a year starting in May 2008, on top of the 435 days he had on the books by 2008.
When the Chicago Tribune recently started asking questions about McCampbell's pay, village officials said they were just completing their own probe and turning over records to the Cook County state's attorney's office.
Village Attorney John Rock said officials were "a little shocked" when they saw that McCampbell's 2009 income totaled nearly half a million dollars.
"We are still trying to get to the bottom of it," Rock said, declining to say why officials were surprised or to elaborate on the probe.
Cook County state's attorney spokesman Andy Conklin said he could not say whether there is an investigation. Bellwood Mayor Frank Pasquale did not return phone calls seeking comment.
McCampbell said all of his pay was approved by the mayor and board, and even reviewed by the village's outside legal counsel at his urging before his Jan. 31 retirement, which also came with a $59,336 payout this year for unused vacation time under a separation agreement.
Village executives in other suburbs typically command $100,000 to $200,000 a year, according to a Tribune review of salary records. After McCampbell, the next five highest-paid suburban executives averaged total compensation of $264,973 in 2009 -- 44 percent less than him.
McCampbell's 2009 base salary as comptroller and administrator was $128,940, according to a five-year contract he provided the Tribune that was marked as approved by the board in February 2008.
He was set to be paid $115,101 for also holding the titles of public safety CEO, budget director, human resources director, finance director, head of two separate development boards and a classification as "assistant to the mayor." He was given a $66,000 stipend for "special duty assignment" as corporation counsel.
About $126,000 of his 2009 compensation, McCampbell said, came from cashing out 120 unused sick and vacation days as allowed under Bellwood's policies.
Left unaccounted for in the documents provided by McCampbell is about $36,000, which he said likely came from cashing out vacation or sick days, or perhaps another stipend he couldn't remember. He maintains that he wasn't the one to calculate his salary. That, he said, was up to village accountants.
McCampbell also was given a car and gas paid for by taxpayers, who covered his premiums for health and life insurance, and his pension contributions, according to his contract.
McCampbell said he did the work of all of his positions for the suburb of roughly 20,000 along Interstate Highway 290. He showed the Tribune red journals containing notes on his daily activities and a tally of hours he worked, which ranged from about 70 to 80 hours a week. He had one journal for each of the last three years.
"I'm anal," he said, when asked why he would keep a personal log of his hours.
McCampbell was hired as comptroller-administrator to run Bellwood in 2001 after decades in government positions, including stints in west suburban Schiller Park, Franklin Park and the western Illinois city of Macomb.
Starting pay was about $120,000, said McCampbell, but quickly escalated as he took on titles and the stipends that came with them.