CRETE | The Village Board gave its approval Monday to a new two-year contract with its police officers. But that gives the village little relief, since the contract is backdated to 2012 and will expire at the end of April.
“We’ve got a contract for 36 days,” said village President Michael Einhorn, just before trustees took a 5-0 vote, with trustees Larry Johnston and Dean Gaffney absent, in favor of the new labor agreement with the Metropolitan Alliance of Police Chapter 36.
The contract called for a 2 percent pay raise from 2012-13, and a 2.5 percent raise from 2013-14.
Because there was no labor agreement in place during those nearly two years, police officers did not get any extra money. As a result, they all will receive a back payment in coming weeks to make up for the cash they are now owed.
Einhorn said the amount of money owed is not large.
“It’s not a lot of money, but now we have to sit down and calculate how much each officer is owed,” Einhorn said.
That likely will take the rest of the week to complete, said village Attorney James Stevenson. After that, negotiations toward a new contract will begin next Tuesday. He said it would be standard to begin negotiations on a new contract about one month before it was set to expire.
That led Einhorn to quip to Stevenson at one point Monday night, “You can make a living out of negotiating the police contract.”
Police union officials were not available Monday to comment on the talks, but Einhorn said he was particularly upset that negotiations became bogged down on what he thought were irrelevant issues that caused an 18-month delay in approving a contract.
“We thought we had a deal, then issues such as collateral transfer started to get thrown in,” he said.
In other business, the Village Board gave its approval to the rezoning of land currently used by St. James Manor and Villas, 1251 E. Richton Rd., which is being sold to new ownership.
Janet Schwieters, an attorney representing both the old and new ownership of the senior citizen facility, said the new owners wanted a change from a single family residence district to a multiple family residence district, although officials said there are no plans to expand the facility.
Village ordinances also require that the special use permit granted to the old owner be issued by the Village Board to the new owner.
The Village Board also approved a one-year extension of its contract with Kurtz Paramedic Service, Inc., which has provided services to the Crete Fire Department since 2008. The extension begins May 1, and the company will be paid $215,290.49.