Labor agreement is near for Lake County Jail corrections officers

2013-11-07T17:00:00Z 2013-11-08T10:48:06Z Labor agreement is near for Lake County Jail corrections officersBill Dolan bill.dolan@nwi.com, (219) 662-5328 nwitimes.com
November 07, 2013 5:00 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | Councilman David Hamm said Thursday the county has reached a tentative labor agreement with the Lake County Jail corrections officers.

Hamm, D-Hammond, said the county is offering to give the 176 men and women who guard inmates a 2 percent salary increase and restore its former contribution to their pension plan, a figure that amounts to about 1.5 percent of their salary.

The County Council also plans to vote Tuesday at its regular meeting to pay corrections officers $215,000 for recent overtime they worked.

The council also may repeal a 21-year-old ordinance designed to punish elected officials who fire public employees without first justifying the termination to the Lake County Board of Commissioners and the Lake County Council.

The ordinance was drafted in 1992 after the county was hit with wrongful termination suits that cost taxpayers $880,000 to resolve.

The ordinance required the officials doing the firing to submit reports supporting their decision and submit the case to a county-hired attorney before any termination is complete. Any officials failing to do so could have their budgets cut by the amount of any award granted for a wrongful termination, under the ordinance.

Ray Szarmach, an attorney for the council, said Thursday the ordinance is unenforceable since it could result in shutting down the offending official's agency if the wrongful termination award is large enough. 

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