Wednesday, December 6, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Maywood village officials are counting a new police contract that they approved unanimously during a Dec. 6 regular board meeting as a significant achievement that could save the village money in the future.
The new bargaining agreement, made between the village and the Illinois Council of Police, was voted on only after it went to impasse arbitration, which means that the two sides were unable to come to agreement on the terms of the new contract during good-faith negotiations.
The impasse arbitration process is governed by the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act, which requires negotiations between parties to play out before an impartial arbitrator.
“Some very significant, positive things came out of this contract,” said village attorney Michael Jurusik. “Three of the four proposed changes that went to arbitration were economic in nature. One was a significant economic proposal — minimum manning.”
“The union proposed to maintain the existing contract requirement of a minimum of five patrol per shift,” according to a summary of the new contract, which runs from May 1, 2017 to April 30, 2020, drafted by Klein, Thorpe and Jenkins, the village’s contracted law firm.
“The village proposed to eliminate any manning requirement from the contract. The arbitrator ruled in favor of the village. There is no minimum manning in the new contract.”
Maywood Village Manager Willie Norfleet, who explained how minimum manning works, said that the practice costs the village hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
“Anytime you’re short on [police officers] for whatever reason, someone who goes out sick or whatever, the replacement for that individual is required to be paid time-and-a-half for the individual’s particular shift,” Norfleet said.
“There are no control factors or anything. So, if there’s nothing really going on, then you’re still required to have x number of individuals stationed by minimum manning. If not, then a grievance is filed where you’re forced to potentially pay the highest paid [patrol person] to resolve that grievance.”
According to Norfleet, in 2014, the village budgeted $550,000 for police overtime. That budget was later revised to $1 million. Around $960,000 was actually spent that year.
From 2015 to 2017, Norfleet said, the village budgeted around $1.6 million for police overtime, but actually spent roughly $2.2 million.
Norfleet said that recently the disparity between what’s budgeted and what’s actually spent on police overtime has shrank slightly, partly due to restructured work shifts.
Removing the minimum manning requirement, however, should reduce police paid overtime and put the village in control of when overtime should be handed out to officers, village officials said.
“You have a similar scenario with the fire department and that issue will get discussed, but the state requires [minimum manning with fire departments],” Norfleet said, adding that he questions whether the village needs minimum manning at both fire stations.
“We’re only 2.7 square miles,” Norfleet said. “We will have discussion on [whether there needs to be minimum manning at both stations] that at a later date.”
In addition to the minimum manning issue, the arbitrator also sided with the village on extended sick leave and regular sick leave.
“The union proposed that extended sick leave may be used every 12 months,” according to the village summary. “The village proposed that extended sick leave can be used only every 24 months.”
In addition, the union “proposed two additional sick leave days per year” while the village “proposed that there be no increase in sick leave.”
The arbitrator sided with the union on allowing officers to decide whether discipline appeals are heard by the Board of Fire and Police Commissioners or by an arbitrator under the contract grievance procedure. The village had wanted discipline appeals to be heard by the board.
Another significant feature of the new contract was the establishment of structured 12-hour shifts, rather than unstructured eight-hour shifts with 10 days off each month.
“It is expected that this schedule change will not only substantially reduce overtime but will also provide more efficient operation of the police department for service to the community,” the village summary states.
The new contract calls also for a 2 percent salary increase in 2017-18 and a salary re-opener clause for each of the last two years of the contract.
Under the new contract, base salary levels range from $45,614 a year for rookie officers to $87,243 for officers with at least 20 years of experience.
A salary re-opener clause allows new hires to get a pay raise within a short amount of time if their performance during the first few months on the job merits a salary increase. VFP
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