The city appears to be in the awkward position of fighting a cost-cutting measure that it had proposed.
The proposal to eliminate the positions of four police captains through attrition would save Joliet $650,000 a year, Patrick Cardwell, president of the police supervisor’s union, told the council at its workshop meeting on Monday.
“What I’m asking councilmen to do is put this item on a City Council agenda and vote on it,” Cardwell said. “This proposal represents responsible city government.”
The union has filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the Illinois Labor Relations Board to try to force the city to enact the proposal that management presented, Cardwell said.
Cardwell said the agreement was accepted by the union. But it went awry when members of other city unions began a “smear campaign” and created “clouds of misinformation” aimed at preventing it from taking effect, he said.
Police supervisors would get a 5 percent pay bonus in exchange for accepting the elimination of the four positions. Cardwell said the four captains now on the job are close to retirement and their positions would be eliminated as they retire.
Whatever the reasons for not going forward, the City Council and administrators weren’t saying Monday.
“I would recommend that no one comment on this,” City Attorney Marty Shanahan told the council after Cardwell’s comments.
No one did.
Union members said the proposal came out of a study looking for ways to restructure the command staff in the police department.
“Right now, you have a union standing in front of you saying we accept your proposal,” union board member Kevin LaBolle told the council. “Reduce us.”
The council will vote Tuesday on an agreement with the Joliet Public Library for a “land swap” that would give Joliet the library parking lot which the city wants to make part of a future city plaza on Chicago Street.
Mayor Bob O’Dekirk commended the library board for its part in the agreement.
“They didn’t have to work with us, and they did,” O’Dekirk said.
The agreement calls for the city to designate five street-parking spots on Clinton Street as handicapped parking, which could be used by library patrons. Another three spots will be designated as 15-minute parking spots for the library.
The city will also make two-hour free parking available to library patrons at the nearby Ottawa Street parking deck.
The area now covered by the parking lot would be used for outdoor library programming.
The agreement calls for the city to construct “a widened high-visibility pedestrian crosswalk” across Clinton Street between the library and plaza.