Oak Lawn ponders benefit cuts for part-timers, officials
BY STEVE METSCH email@example.com October 30, 2013 7:04AM
Oak Lawn Village Trustee Tim Desmond (1st) wants to eliminate health care benefits for part-time village employees in a cost-cutting move.
Desmond, elected this year, took a shot at the previous administration during the Oct. 22 board meeting, saying he’s tired of the village “asking businesses and residents to share the costs of the mismanagement and neglect of the previous administration for so long.”
Trustee Bob Streit (3rd), who also was on the village board under former Mayor Dave Heilmann, took offense to Desmond’s comment.
Desmond had said, “Since being elected, the new board has initiated pension reform. It’s time for us to lead from the front again and eliminate health benefits for all part-time employees and officials. I’d like to put that on the agenda for the next board meeting.”
Trustee Alex Olejniczak (2nd) said he will not accept health care benefits starting with the new fiscal year “regardless if there’s a change” in the policy.
“It’s going to be a rough year. Many sacrifices are going to have to be made,” Olejniczak said.
As expected, trustees Terry Vorderer (4th) and Mike Carberry (6th) agreed that part-timers and village officials should not get health care benefits. Vorderer ran as an independent in this year’s election. Carberry was part of the slate led by new Mayor Sandra Bury.
Streit and Trustee Carol Quinlan (5th) opposed Desmond’s proposed cutting of health care benefits for part-time employees and officials.
”For the record, I have a wife and kids. I’ve been on the insurance because I had that when I was single and wanted to keep the same doctor,” Streit said, while also agreeing the matter should be discussed.
“The suggestion was made the village wasn’t run well financially in the past,” Streit said. “I take great exception to that. This village is really in outstanding financial condition and it was when this group came in.
“You hear from them the message of doom and gloom and you heard it tonight — jobs, police and fire, are on the line, we talk of outsourcing senior services, 911. I have news, they may think this is how to run a village; I don’t think it is.”
Streit then introduced an ordinance he hopes is on the agenda for the next meeting. It would require more transparency via the village’s website, which, he said, is sorely lacking in Oak Lawn. Included would be a wide range of information such as budgets, contracts, information on special taxing districts, and building and zoning procedures.
Bury agreed that the village’s website must be improved.
“When you say we’re not transparent ... our website, frankly, is appalling and cannot do it. It can’t, and you know that for a fact,” she said. (But) it is going to be done. It’s already in motion.”