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Will Co. may boost fee for off-duty police

Updated: August 11, 2013 6:44AM



JOLIET — Will County may raise the rate it charges private companies for off-duty police officers.

The county currently charges $50 an hour for sheriff’s officers to direct traffic and provide security. But the rate should probably be $70 an hour, county finance director Paul Rafac said at Tuesday’s meeting of the county board’s insurance and personnel committee.

Officers pocket $35 an hour for off-duty work, according to their union contract. But the county should charge double that amount to cover its costs for federal payroll taxes, pensions, workers’ compensation, liability insurance and equipment costs, Rafac said.

Years ago, the pay went straight to the officers, but sometime in the late 1980s, payments were brought under the sheriff’s control, said Jim Moustis (R-Frankfort Township), chairman of the board’s Republican caucus.

Back then, off-duty sheriff’s police did small jobs at banquet halls or minor traffic duty and didn’t work for big corporations, but that has changed, Moustis said. For instance, Exxon Mobil has paid $360,000 so far this year for traffic control by off-duty sheriff’s officers at its refinery.

Committee members also questioned why the off-duty payments went into the sheriff’s budget instead of the county’s corporate fund to be appropriated by the county board to cover its costs.

“It’s not the sheriff’s money, it’s the county’s money,” Moustis said. “ ... We have no idea how that money is used.”

Committee members decided to send the issue to the board’s executive committee, which will more than likely send it to the finance committee for review.

“We need to sort this thing out,” said board member Dianne Zigrossi (D-Crest Hill), chair of the insurance and personnel committee as well as the board’s Democratic caucus.

No one from the sheriff’s department was present at the committee meeting. Sheriff Paul Kaupas said later that he would comment after he learned more about the committee’s recommendations.



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