Over protests from union officials, fellow workers and two village board members, up to six village hall employees were slated to lose their jobs by the end of the summer as the village board passed its 2005-06 operating budget Monday night.
Two employees in the village manager’s office were terminated, while four others in the Department of Public Works are slated for termination by Sept. 2.
The 4-2 vote on both the operating budget and the village’s appropriations ordinance were along party lines, with PEP Party trustees Catherine Colgrass Edwards, C.P. Hall, Kit Ketchmark and Michael Towner voting for it. VIP Party trustees Alan Dorobiala and Linda Stevanovich voted against the measures.
“Public Works services have been increased and improved in the last few years, and we just cut them off,” Stevanovich said. “This budget had ample surpluses [to cover the cost of the employees]. I won’t vote for an appropriation ordinance that does this kind of disservice.”
Village President Michael Garvey, also a PEP member, responded that Stevanovich had time to offer alternatives to the cuts at three separate budget workshops, but failed to do so.
“I wish your concerns had been made at an earlier time rather than the night of the vote,” Garvey said. “Other than your statements that you thought new revenue was good, you didn’t come up with alternatives.”
According to Village Manager Dave Owen, the village is still negotiating with SEIU Local 73, the union that represents Public Works employees, on alternatives to the proposed layoffs in that department. While four employees have been slated for the chopping block, their jobs could be saved, he said.
One of the positions could be spared by the village outsourcing janitorial work inside village hall. The move would save approximately $100,000, according to Owen. In addition, the village is attempting to put together an early retirement package for some longtime Public Works employees.
If the village can convince some of those employees to retire, it might be able to prevent workers identified for layoffs to remain on board. The village would not replace workers who retire.
The village has targeted Sept. 2 as the date for layoffs in Public Works to occur. That means, the village must send out pink slips on Aug. 2, which gives the village and the union roughly three weeks to negotiate any outsourcing or retirement plans.
“I’d like the board to reconsider layoffs in the Department of Public Works,” said Scott DeRoss, longtime chief forester for the village. “These people are good, hard workers, and we’ve come a long way in a short period of time. I can’t emphasize enough that Public Works will be affected in all aspects [by the layoffs].”
The operating budget for the 2005-06 fiscal year passed Monday night shows general operating revenues are expected to rise just over 2 percent, while expenditures would increase some 8 percent. The budget, however, was balanced by a series of fund transfers, including a $764,450 transfer from the village water and sewer fund that was made as “a reimbursement for administrative staff costs and other indirect expenses that were not properly charged in prior fiscal years,” according to a budget analysis signed by Owen and Finance Director John Dolasiniski.
Other highlights of the budget include a $500,000 expenditure to begin a comprehensive water meter replacement program. That cost will come out of the village’s water/sewer fund. The village also plans to spend $115,000 for a new ambulance, $170,000 for engineering and construction costs to replace the pedestrian bridge over Salt Creek at Brookfield Avenue, and over $300,000 for three parking lot paving projects at Jaycee/Ehlert Park.