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Wilmette forms group to study Cook County minimum wage, sick time ordinances

Friday, December 15, 2017
Pioneer Press
by Kathy Routliffe

Wilmette trustees on Tuesday approved the creation of a working group to study how Cook County's minimum wage and sick time ordinances might affect village businesses, employers and their employees, and the village's overall economy.

According to a village staff report, the group will determine what information the finance committee still needs as it studies the ordinance issues, and what – of the large amount of data it already has – is relevant for the committee's studies.

Wilmette opted out of the Cook County minimum wage and paid sick time ordinances in June, but directed its finance committee to gauge the possible impact of the ordinances on the village.

The report, from Assistant Village Manager Michael Braiman and Village Attorney Jeffrey Stein, said the working group, which should begin its work early next year, should study the impact of the two ordinances separately, if possible.

Trustee Dan Sullivan, who chairs the finance committee, announced the appointments, including former village president John Jacoby, who will chair the working group:

•Brian Fabes, chief executive officer of the Civic Consulting Alliance, which works with private businesses and public and government bodies on community issues;

•John Haser, director of administration and marketing at Anne Kustner Lighting Design;

• George Rafeedie, president and founder of CoWorkers LLC, a Wilmette-based company;

•Laura Saleh, a member of the Wilmette-Kenilworth Chamber of Commerce board of directors;

•Therese Steinken, former development director of the Wilmette-based Family Service Center.

Sullivan said the seven-person group, which consists of residents, included Cathy Pratt, an executive vice-president at Wintrust Bank, until she told village officials she wouldn't be able to serve. Sullivan said former village trustee Beth Lambrecht, a co-owner of Lambrecht's Jewelers, was named to replace her.

Resident Jon Marshall asked why Pratt's vacancy was filled with Lambrecht, instead of one of the roughly 20 people who had volunteered to serve. He also noted that the group lacked representatives of employees.

Sullivan said his committee had a hard time finding employees willing to serve. He said Lambrecht was chosen in an effort to find someone who shared what he called Pratt's reach and connections within the community, including the business community.

Village President Bob Bielinski said the working group's meetings will be open and subject to the same public notification rules as the village board.

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