Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Daley, aldermen suggest Chicago police officers, firefighters take unpaid days off
Share | Posted by Hal Dardick and John Byrne at 6:22 p.m.
Mayor Richard Daley and some aldermen suggested today that police officers and firefighters take off nearly five weeks without pay to cut city spending next year.
The idea, which the city cannot force on the police and fire unions, surfaced as outside critics and aldermen are questioning Daley’s plan to dip into long-term cash reserves to help pay for his proposed $6.1 billion budget.
“Everyone has to be part of the solution, not part of the problem,” Daley said today when asked if police officers and firefighters should take unpaid furlough days. “And that’s why I’m taking 24 days without pay, and I got other people to take that, because you have to show that government understands the suffering that is going on throughout your communities.”
Daley already has ordered non-union employees to take 12 unpaid furlough days and 12 unpaid holidays, and most unions agreed to do the same. Those measures will save the city $70 million next year.
But police and firefighters, who make up the bulk of the city work force, weren’t asked to take the days off. Both of those unions’ contracts have expired, and the police contract is in binding arbitration, with a decision expected by spring at the earliest. Any concessions are only likely to come after that's settled, if they come at all.
If police and fire unions agreed to furloughs, the city would save $120 million, city Budget Director Eugene Munin said in response to a question from Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th, at a City Council budget hearing today.
“That’s 120 million we could save the taxpayers of the City of Chicago if we had cooperation from just two of the outstanding four unions,” Beale responded.
Several aldermen questioned Daley’s plan to spend $270 million from a long-term reserve account established just last year from proceeds of the city’s 75-year parking meter system lease.
“We don’t have a plan to replenish that fund,” said Ald. Scott Waguespack, 32nd, a consistent critic of the lease. “That’s my concern.”
Aldermen floated a number of ideas, including a city casino or dipping into special tax district funds, to pay for city spending. Last week, Daley noted the many complications in getting a casino off the ground, and he has repeatedly dismissed dipping into tax-increment-finance district funds.
Ald. Ray Suarez, 31st, asked why police officers and firefighters aren’t taking the same pay cuts as others.
"Why can’t everybody take part in bringing the expenses down so that we don’t have to force a lot of these folks to take furlough days?" Suarez asked. "Because I think it’s a little unfair to ask a single provider from a family who’s making forty-five or fifty thousand dollars to give back not just 12 furlough days, but the 12 holidays. Why can’t this be done? What’s the problem?"
Munin responded, "I agree with you, alderman, I think everyone should share in that."
Officials with the city's police and fire unions could not be reached today.
Posted at 06:22:51 PM in Chicago City Council, Mayor of Chicago
Here's an article about our 50 Alderman in Chicago:
City Council's $3.7 million allowance:
How aldermen spent taxpayer money
By Hal Dardick, Ryan Mark, Joe Germuska and Brian Boyer | Tribune Staff
Aug. 15, 2009
Aldermen hired relatives, friends and campaign workers, leased automobiles and rented downtown parking spaces with money from their taxpayer-funded expense accounts, according to city databases and public records compiled by the Tribune.
The aldermen's expense allowance more than doubled in 2008 to $73,280 each from $33,280. Half of the city's 50 aldermen spent more than $70,000 of last year’s allowance. The municipal code of the City of Chicago defines appropriate uses for the allowance but allows broad discretion by the City Council members. Oversight is minimal. Aldermen are merely told to ensure that their spending is legal.
Aldermen spent $132,788 on automobile leases, $28,186 on downtown parking spots and $11,277 on bottled water. The city last year allocated up to $3.7 million for expenses; aldermen spent $3.1 million.
Explore all of the aldermen’s 2008 expenses on this Web site.
To learn more about how aldermen spent taxpayer money, read our story on aldermen's expense accounts and our follow-up about an alderman renting
Ofc Alex Valadez Murdered 01 Jun 09 answering a shot's fired call
his star was retired 20 OCT 09 Mayor Daley spoke these words :
"His passing reminds us once again how much gratitude we owe to the men and women of the Chicago Police Department," Mayor Richard Daley said.
Every job & call every foot chase or car chase could be an officers last .....How many people who go to each day are faced with those odds . Will the mayor go out or the alderman and answer calls and chase savages with guns , burglars ,rapist robbers , car thieves ? We elected you and WILL UN ELECT YOU
Go ask Alex valadez or Richard Francis or Nate Taylor how much a life is worth ! All these officers were killed in the line of duty with in the last 2 yrs
Lets all give a big hand to Mayor Daley for taking 24 unpaid days. He doesn't have to worry because he gets all his kick=-backs still