This one really frosts me. The only good reason this is happening is because the Village of Oak Lawn wants to retaliate against the Union.
Firefighters burned by cuts
Trustees reportedly are planning to lay off three firefighters and not fill three more vacant positions in the department as part of an effort to deal with a projected budget deficit that has swollen to nearly $1.7 million.
Only a few months ago, the village passed a $42.6 million budget that represented a bare 1 percent increase over last year's. But the economy has worsened to such an extent that officials are now aiming to cut spending to well below 2007 levels.
Reports of the reductions brought three dozen members of the fire department to a Thursday night budget meeting. But they waited in vain for information for three hours, as board members discussed personnel matters behind closed doors in executive session.
After trustees emerged, they remained mum on the subject of personnel reductions, discussing revenue projections instead, to the frustration of those present.
The village and the firefighters' union have been at odds for months over stalled contract negotiations and other matters, and there is a sense among firefighters that they have been targeted for cuts as a result.
Village manager Larry Deetjen declined to discuss personnel cuts Thursday night before sitting down with his department heads on Friday. But he emphasized that officials are planning cuts in all departments.
"Everyone had to contribute," he said.
Trustees have accused firefighters of taking too many sick days, resulting in high overtime costs. The union insists that's not true and has filed grievances over new policies that they say violate the existing contract's minimum staffing levels. Firefighters say they fear that further cuts would reduce staffing levels even more and potentially impact response times.
Officials are expecting sales tax revenue and revenue from various permits and fees to each fall $300,000 short of projections. Another major problem has been that the village's red-light cameras are bringing in a half-million dollars less than predicted.
Trustees have shot down various revenue raising measures proposed by village staffers, among them a slight increase in the utility tax, boosting the motel tax and having residents buy two-year vehicle stickers, which would bring money in faster.
Oak Lawn is far from the only municipality that has had to trim spending as a result of the economic downturn.
"We're in a tough spot," Trustee Robert Streit said. "We've got our work cut out for us."
It appears that no other department is expecting sharp personnel reductions, which raises further concerns for firefighters.
"We're all on pins and needles," Lt. Robert Wesselhoff said Friday morning as he waited for word on the cuts to leak out. He is the union's secretary-treasurer.
"If they need three personnel cuts, there should be one from fire, one from police and one from public works," or some similar distribution, Wesselhoff said.
Rules governing reductions state that the three newest department employees would lose their jobs.
The village had been planning to hire three police officers, allowing for the creation of a full-time gang unit and enabling an officer to oversee a new emergency operations plan and center. It was unclear as of Friday morning whether those positions had eluded the knife.
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04-16-2008, 07:48 PM #1
Oak Lawn lays off three Firefighters.IAFF-IACOJ PROUD
04-17-2008, 11:14 PM #2
That flat-out sucks. Rumors are swirling in the Metro East of cuts in Alton.
04-22-2008, 11:38 AM #3
this is no good
Last edited by Mangles; 08-03-2009 at 09:46 PM. Reason: d
05-15-2008, 03:07 PM #4
- Join Date
- May 2008
yea that really sucks. I want to someday test for Oak Lawn its one of the departments i really would like to work for but the odds of that happening now are pretty much shot becuase of this. Ill wait patiently.
08-03-2009, 08:09 PM #5
Make that number 14. The village "leaders" just spent over 2.5 million dollars to buy a vacant funeral home. They are planting gardens and the PART-TIME village trustees receive health care benefits. The village is reducing manning on engines from 4 to 3. The economy is tough, but the cuts are being made first where they should be made last.IAFF-IACOJ PROUD
08-03-2009, 09:50 PM #6
Are you saying 14 guys are getting laid off; or are some positions being eliminated by attrition? Either way it still stinks!
08-03-2009, 10:08 PM #7
They are LAYING OFF 11 more firefighters to go along with the 3 they laid off last year.IAFF-IACOJ PROUD
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