Posts Tagged Brian Mitchell

Layoffs may come to Matteson (more)

Excerpts from a Southtown Star article on the possible layoffs coming to Matteson:

The police and firefighter unions in Matteson officially have responded to the village administration’s request to negotiate over recently announced plans to lay off half of the police force and a quarter of the firefighter-paramedics by Feb. 20.

The unions’ contracts with the village give them the “ability for critical input,” village administrator Brian Mitchell said last week in citing Matteson’s $8 million budget deficit as the reason for the proposed layoffs. He said the village plans to save $1.5 million by laying off 13 police officers and $1.2 million by laying off eight firefighter-paramedics.

Ray Violetto, the Metropolitan Alliance of Police representative for the Matteson officers, said the union responded to the village Friday, while Scott Gilliam, president of the Associated Firefighters of Matteson, said it responded Monday. Gilliam said the firefighters’ union wants more information about the village’s financial situation in advance of any meeting. Violetto said he wasn’t authorized to elaborate on his union’s strategy but hoped village officials would get back to the unions soon on the next steps.

The village’s Tuesday deadline for the unions to respond followed Monday night’s village board meeting where many in a large crowd questioned the need for the layoffs and urged trustees to find areas of the budget other than public safety to make cuts. The planned layoffs were not on the meeting agenda.

… a major unanswered question is “why are firefighters and police the first to be cut?” No one in the administration has explained what other cutbacks, if any, are planned.

Gilliam and Violetto said the public works department hired Trustee Bridget Dancy’s husband two weeks ago. A call seeking comment from that department was directed back to Mitchell’s office.

Gilliam said he didn’t understand the village’s logic in cutting its first responders because it “goes against common sense.”

“If these layoffs take place, there will be a snowball effect,” said Violetto, who has more than 28 years of law enforcement experience. “You’re going to have slower response times and officer fatigue because they’ll be doing a lot more work than they had in the past.”

Village officials sought voter approval Nov. 4 for home-rule authority, which would give them more taxing powers, such as adopting a local sales tax, to raise revenue. They warned that defeat of home rule would force them to make layoffs, including in public safety, but voters rejected the change by a vote of 3,322 to 3,121.

Matteson’s failed attempts in recent years to save Lincoln Mall, which closed this month, and the steadily declining sales tax revenue from the mall, also contributed to the rising budget shortfall.

thanks Dan

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Layoffs may come to Matteson

Excerpts from an article about the Village of Matteson:

The police union reports that 13 police officers and 8 firefighters could be cut by mid-February.

“I don’t want to say it’s a chopping block because we look at the life of these firefighters, police officers, their families, it’s very critical to them for their jobs. It’s also critical for our residents to know that safety is there when they call, that when they call 911, that they know someone is going to be responding,” said Brian Mitchell, Matteson village administrator.

The police union had this response, in part: “The union is disheartened regarding this drastic step as it directly impacts the safety of the residents, members of the business community and officers on the street.” The village administrator says those unions do have a chance to respond to the letter by Tuesday.

Residents can speak out at a board meeting scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday.

Excerpts from the from Friday:

An $8 million budget deficit in Matteson has led village officials to impose layoffs of police and firefighters, village administrator Brian Mitchell said Friday. The village intends to eliminate eight firefighters/paramedic positions to save $1.5 million and remove 13 police officers to save $1.2 million. Mitchell said the proposed layoffs were mindful of the need for safety in the community, stressing that the “goal is to make sure the community is still safe and secure.”

The layoffs would cut about half of the town’s 28-person police patrol, said Ray Violetto, the Metropolitan Alliance of Police representative for the Matteson officers. Violetto said he understands that the village has a deficit but it doesn’t make sense that firefighters and police officers are the only ones losing their jobs. “I’ve only seen cuts in emergency response personnel, but I don’t know of cuts in public works, administration or other departments,” he said.

The fire department would lose a quarter of its 32 union members, according to Scott Gilliam, president of the Associated Firefighters of Matteson. Gilliam insisted that Matteson “cannot possibly operate” with eight fewer firefighters, which would create a “severe threat to the safety and lives of both the firefighters and the citizens of this community.” “There’s no way we can operate below what we’re doing now,” he said, noting that the firefighters’ contract with the village requires a minimum of eight firefighters to be on duty per day.  Forcing the remaining firefighters to maintain that daily minimum would require them to work “a lot of overtime” past their 60-hour work week, putting everyone’s health and safety at risk, Gilliam said.

The village administration sent letters to the police and fire unions, informing them of and asking for a response by Tuesday, Mitchell said, citing collective bargaining agreements that give the unions the “ability for critical input.”

Mitchell said several residents have called the village hall, asking to discuss the layoff issue at the meeting. He said the layoffs are not on the agenda because the village administration first wants to get the unions’ official response to the plan, but residents can comment and ask questions as usual.

thanks Dan

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