More pay cuts in Roselle; village also scraps D.A.R.E. program

 
 
Published12/22/2009 12:05 AM

The Roselle village board unanimously approved agreements Monday with village public works and fire unions that allow for pay cuts, raises, freezes and other concessions.

But the Metropolitan Alliance of Police Chapter 258, which represents 27 Roselle Police Department employees, did not strike a deal with the village.

 

Now two rookie police officers face layoffs on Jan. 1 and the village D.A.R.E. program, or Drug Abuse Resistance Education, will be cut so its full-time officer can take on patrol duty.

Dozens of village residents and employees attended Monday night's meeting to speak out against the layoffs and service cuts.

Scott Williams, a Keeneyville Elementary District 20 board member and parent, said he sees both sides of the issue.

"I understand budgeting (and) what it is to split a dollar down to its last penny," Williams told the board. "But when you guys made a decision to get rid of D.A.R.E., you made a decision to keep other things. Parents want to know what was kept in lieu of D.A.R.E. We need to keep these kids safe, educated and keep that positive reinforcement from the police department."

After listening to an hour of pleas, village President Gayle Smolinski said she and the board wish they could avoid the cuts. But a $1 million budget shortfall in the village's 2010 operating budget - and the impasse with the police union - make it impossible.

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"There isn't anyone on this board who doesn't agree with you," she said. "I support D.A.R.E. 100 percent ... I wish we could guarantee everyone a job forever. But in order for this to work, everyone had to agree to concessions."

Under its new agreement with Roselle, the public works union agreed to 60 furlough hours for each employee in 2010, along with elimination of uniform and tool allowances and waiving a sick leave buyback program. The village will also not fill the post of a retiring employee. In total, officials said this will save $156,000 next year.

The fire union agreed to 24 hours of furlough time for each employee in 2010, eliminating their cost of living increases for the year and turning over state funding to the village that is normally used for expenses like equipment. These concessions will save Roselle $93,000 next year, said Village Administrator Jeff O'Dell.

Although Monday was the deadline for the police union to negotiate a deal with the village that must save $226,000 in expenses, Smolinski said there is still a chance to save jobs before the Jan. 1 deadline.

"We value our police officers and board willing to hold a special meeting to rescind this ordinance and to reinstate those officers," she said.

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