Burr Ridge mayor asks residents for salary increase amid pandemic

The mayor of southwest suburban Burr Ridge is in the spotlight after asking taxpayers for a whopping salary hike.

Mayor Gary Grasso says the job should pay five times more than it is paying now.

“When I got the letter I expected to see an increase of $1,000 or $2,000. And when I saw it was from $6,000 to $30,000, I said that’s ridiculous,” a Burr Ridge resident said.

Some residents say they were stunned after receiving the letter from Mayor Garry Grasso, asking that the mayor’s salary be increased 500% from $6,000 to $30,000 a year.

“I don’t know what he really does, and everybody else is volunteering,” the resident said.

Grasso, who declined to talk to FOX 32 on camera, says in the letter that he has taken on new responsibilities as mayor, such as fighting the Sterigenics plant and leading the village’s COVID response.

"Being mayor has become and will remain a very time-consuming job that also should provide fair compensation,” the letter read.

“I thought it was outrageous,” said Burr Ridge trustee Zachary Mottl, who has butted heads with the mayor before.

He is also upset the mayor spent more than $4,600 of village money sending out the 4,000 letters without the board’s approval.

“I could not believe in the current environment, people are worried about their jobs, their homes, their businesses, that he wants to quintuple his salary right now,” Mottl said.

However, other Burr Ridge residents that FOX 32 talked to say pay the man his money.

“I know he works hard here for our village, and I’m actually for him getting his increase,” one resident said.

“We’ve been happy with him as mayor, so no, I don’t think it’s huge,” another resident said.

Grasso also has a private law practice and says he will talk publicly about his request when it goes before the village board on Monday night. He is up for election in April.