29 Golf Outings Part of the Job, Officials Say

Article excerpt

Byline: Rukmini Callimachi Daily Herald Staff Writer

Since May, four Barrington department heads attended 29 golf outings on village time, totaling nearly 100 collective hours on the putting green, according to e-mails and other documents turned over by village hall.

None of the department heads, however, received overtime for the hours spent golfing. Fees for tournaments were paid by the individuals, not the village. All the outings were professionally related and used for networking.

"There has never been an indication that work was left undone," said Barrington Trustee Jack Schaefer, who represents the majority of the board in supporting the golf outings. "Department heads are the face of the village. It's an opportunity for them to get out in the community."

The practice of allowing village employees to attend golf tournaments began under former Village Manager Robert Irvin's tenure. Irvin retired this summer.

It became an issue of contention during the end of the tenure of recently ousted Village Manager Curt Allison, who named golfing as one of several "unethical work practices" he uncovered in village hall.

Experts in local government, however, say the practice is far from unusual.

"I would say it's very common, if you're talking about department heads golfing with their professional association," said Carol Zar, assistant director for the Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University. "It's not even a perk; it's part of their professional development. It's about knowing your peers."

According to available records, Barrington Fire Chief Jim Arie attended two professional outings: the Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Outing in June and the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association Outing in July. …