McDermott's new chief of staff to make $94,000

2013-05-12T00:00:00Z 2013-05-13T00:25:05Z McDermott's new chief of staff to make $94,000Chelsea Schneider Kirk, (219) 933-3241

HAMMOND | Mark McLaughlin will earn a $94,000 salary in his new role as chief of staff for Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr.

Former Chief of Staff Tom Dabertin will stay on as a city consultant.

The Hammond Water Works Department approved McLaughlin's pay and a contract with Dabertin's company, Shared Resource Solutions, last week. The up to $50,000 contract with Shared Resource Solutions runs through December.

McDermott said Dabertin is consulting the city on the renewal of the College Bound program.

The program, which uses casino revenue to provide college scholarships to students of Hammond homeowners, was given an initial 10-year run.

It will enter its eighth year in fall 2013, and the goal is to move the program away from casino revenue and into a more long-term funding source.

“(Dabertin) is a good quarterback on issues and one of the issues he’s working on is College Bound and getting the College Bound program renewed,” McDermott said.

Dabertin also will consult the city as it envisions the future use of the State Line Energy site, McDermott said.

The former coal plant near Lake Michigan stopped generating electricity last year after its then-owner, Dominion Resources, decided to close the plant. It was then bought by a Texas company that specializes in demolishing power plants.

As chief of staff, McLaughlin will serve as a full-time employee and be eligible for city health insurance, said Ed Krusa, Water Department chief executive operator.

In comparison, Dabertin filled the position of chief of staff as a city contractor. Under Shared Resource Solutions' new contract, the company will be paid the rate of $82 per hour. The contract stipulates Dabertin cannot advise the city in matters dealing with the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority.

Dabertin left the chief of staff position last month to join the RDA board as Hammond’s representative.

Across the region, chiefs of staff, and positions that fill comparable roles in their respective municipalities, make salaries ranging from $71,440 to $99,000.

Hammond's chief of staff is the second highest paid, with Gary’s chief of staff, B.R. Lane, making $99,000 to serve as Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson's top administrator.

While Portage doesn't have an official chief of staff, Director of Public Works A.J Monroe fills similar duties and earns $87,090.

East Chicago Chief of Staff Val Gomez makes $75,000 with Valparaiso City Administrator Bill Oeding earning $75,990. Crown Point Chief of Staff Keith Stevens is approved to make up to $71,440, according to city records.

The cities of Hobart, Whiting and Lake Station do not have chiefs of staff

In Hammond, McLaughlin also will work with the Water Department on contract negotiations with wholesale customers in Illinois and other water matters, Krusa said.

Before moving to City Hall, McLaughlin served as the executive director of the Hammond Development Corp. that focuses on supporting small business and real estate development in the city.

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