Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Lyons reaches new police contract: Will save nearly $800,000 and increases number of police on the street

Lyons reaches new police contract
Will save nearly $800,000 and increases number of police on the street

Lyons, Il – The Village of Lyons and members of the Lyons Police Union reached a contract agreement that will save taxpayers as much as $800,000 while putting more police on street duty, Mayor Christopher Getty said Sunday.

Under the new contract, which goes to the Village Board at its regular meeting Wednesday Jan. 15 for approval, the Police Department will remain “fully staffed” and no police officer will receive a pay cut.

Getty said the contract reflects “work rule concessions” in which detectives and supervisors will be given street duty.

“The biggest fear that was promoted out there was that there were going to be lay-offs and that would result in a reduction in police protection. But the bottom line is that we are able to save the taxpayers money and we have been able to put more police on the streets,” Getty said.

“We were able to tighten spending and a bring it into line with the needs of taxpayers. We made the Police Department more efficient by reducing administrative duties and putting more police on the street. In the end, that will mean our homeowners will see more police on the streets and an increase in community safety.”

Getty said that for example, detectives will assume street patrol responsibilities when needed, and that supervisors will also be spending less time in their offices and more time on the street.

The new contract calls for no salary increase during the first and second year, and a 2 percent increase for the next two years (3 and 4). Longevity or “bonus” pay hikes will be frozen for two years, Getty said. That agreement alone will save taxpayers nearly $100,000 each year.

Police Chief Harley Schinker said, “I’m pleased the village and the union have come to an agreement that ensures we will be able to continue to provide superior police and safety services to our residents.”

Getty said that Lyons has 25 police officers now, not including dispatchers, crossing guards or part timers. Some attrition through retirement is expected.

“The Union and the Village both agree that we can continue to provide the highest police service with 21 police officers,” Getty said. “The difference will be made up through anticipated early retirements as defined under the contract. And police will be on the street protecting our homes where the public expects them.”

The contract was approved by the Union Dec. 26. Getty said he anticipates it will be presented to the full board at their next regularly scheduled meeting on Jan. 15.

Village Manager Thomas Sheahan said, “The new contract sets Lyons on the right fiscal path moving forward. It puts us on a strong financial footing while maintaining the highest police services.”

Financial Director Dan Denys said, “The new contract brings our expenditures in the police department in line with what communities our size are paying. It enables the village to strengthen our financial footing.”

“We always targeted a savings of around $800,000 for taxpayers through these work rule changes and the new contract and we feel that we have come very close to that number. That’s a win for every homeowner and taxpayer in Lyons,” Getty said.

Getty also noted that dispatchers now employed with the Village will remain with the village. New hires, he explained, will be employed in a new public-private partnership with the professional dispatching service, Kurtz Inc.

“Dispatchers will remain with village but new hires will work through Kurtz Inc.,” Getty said. “It’s a public-private partnership that will not impact police protection at all. But it will save taxpayers $400,000 over the next three years. Every dispatcher will remain and the only change will be through attrition.”