Friday, April 18, 2014

Lyons seeks to reduce burden on taxpayers while strengthening services

Lyons seeks to reduce burden on taxpayers while strengthening services

By Christopher Getty

Mayor, Village of Lyons

The Village of Lyons continues to make government more responsive to taxpayers by tightening the budget and by ensuring that government services are more efficient, responsive and effective to resident needs.

During the past two years, the Village has reduced spending in every Department. This past month, we reorganized the police department reduced staffing to a full-time force of 16 police officers. We re-assigned four police supervisors and detectives from desk duty to street patrols.

The re-organization will reduce spending by more than $650,000 annually, but ensures that we have the manpower we need to maintain the high level of police professionalism and safety that residents in Lyons have come to expect.

The lay-off of seven officers came after the Chicago-based FOP Police Union refused to negotiate salaries and wages, and demanded salary increases that were unreasonable and unaffordable to Lyons taxpayers.

Currently, the starting salary of a Lyons police officer is $62,000. A Lyons police officer with 7 years of service earns more than $88,000. The FOP Union is seeking to increase wages to as high as $101,000.

The Village of Lyons has negotiated in good faith but the union has turned to fear-mongering and scare tactics, exaggerating the lay-offs, downplaying the costs they are demanding and falsely claiming that the Village will not be safe.

When I was elected mayor five years ago, my priority was, and still is today, to improve the safety and family atmosphere that makes Lyons the special community that we are, and to also control spiraling costs, tighten our budget and make our public services more efficient.

But their Chicago-based leadership and non-Lyons union membership do not care about the people of Lyons. They have made unreasonable salary hike demands and have refused to work with us to explore alternatives to laying off police.

The new Police reorganization reflects the FBI National recommendation for police staffing for communities the size of Lyons. Lyons has a population of 10,000 residents and 3,500 homes. The FBI recommends 3 police officers for every 2,000 residents.

We have more than enough police to protect our community. They are professionals, hard working and I respect them. Our community respects them and we support them and we pay them well.

I am committed to the safety of every resident of the Village of Lyons. That isn’t the issue, though. The issue is and always has been ensuring that we have a full contingent of police on the street and at a cost that can be justified to the taxpayers.


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