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Cola Payments Retroactive to December 1, 2004

Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Special to suffredin.org

To: All Non-Union County Employees

From: Commissioner Larry Suffredin

Re: Cola Payments Retroactive to December 1, 2004

Since the budget alternative that I helped craft was defeated by the Board, I have worked to implement the current budget in a fair and equal manner. At the time the current budget was passed it was known that non-union County employees were not getting the normal COLA adjustment back to December 1, 2004 that our unionized employees were going to receive.

Since the passage of the current budget I have introduced along with Commissioner Mike Quigley a “Fund Transfer Ordinance” to fund full COLA raises for the State’s Attorney and Assessor Offices from existing funds and new funds from two Court settlements. Since the introduction of our “Fund Transfer Ordinance” we have been in negotiations with the Administration to come-up with an agreeable solution to this pay disparity problem for all non-union employees. Our goal was always to have a final proposal available for passage at the July 31, 2007 Board meeting with checks payable in August.

While we believe we have identified sufficient funds to cover the full COLA raises the Administration has suggested other alternatives that may be acceptable and would put the County in a better financial position. At our last negotiating meeting on Monday July 2, 2007 the Administration identified approximately $26.1 million available funds to cover the full cost of raises back to December 1, 2004 for all Cook County non-union employees. The Cost of full funding would be $46 million according to the Administration.

At the July 2nd meeting the Administration suggested a possible solution of a combination of a $1000 bonus plus a 3% COLA going forward from August 19, 2007. The total cost of this proposal is $9.6 million this year and $13.4 million next year. This proposal was just that a proposal and no final agreement was struck.

At the end of our meeting we asked the Administration to model some different payment solutions that would get non-union employees closer to full funding. We are waiting for a response. We still believe that a solution can be worked out before the July 31st Board meeting for payments to be made in August.

Commissioner Quigley and I have not asked that our “Fund Transfer Ordinance” be posted in committee because we believe the current negotiations will be successful. We will work on this over the next days to get all non-union employees a fair pay package.

If the discussions are not fruitful we will call our “Fund Transfer Ordinance” for a vote on July 31st. If it passes it would be subject to a veto and it takes 14 votes to override a veto. We will not have 14 votes to override. Therefore it is essential that we come to an agreement.

One final thought. It is unfair to compare our negotiations to those that take place in a collective bargaining situation. Illinois law gives far more protections to unionized employees when it comes to wage issues.

Please call me or email me with your concerns at 312-603-6383, lsuffredin@aol.com 



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