Dave Statter posted an amazing audio from the Village of Oak Brook in suburban Chicago.
Go HERE to listen to the discussion by the Citizens Financial Advisory Committee (CFAC) where they call firefighters “street people” and make uncomfortable and draconian suggestions for the 28 firefighter/paramedics working at Oak Brook Fire Department.
Citizens Financial Advisory Committee
This recording is from the regular work session of the Citizen’s Financial Advisory Committee. The committee had their first meeting on July 19, 2009.
Stan Pruss provided details of the first meeting in his blog:
This was the first meeting of this new committee, consisting of Don Adler, George Klein, Norma Lauder, Todd Rusteberg, and Randall Teteak. The first order of business was to elect Don Adler Chairman.Chairman Adler reviewed the committee’s charge and assigned tasks to each member. All members will review actual income and expenses vs. budget. Adler and Klein will review employee compensation and benefits and the requirements of state law and union contracts. Adler and Lauder will review all sources of revenues. Rusteberg and Teteak will review information technology and garage operations. The committee will also review contracted services and non-governmental operation, e.g. Sports Core. Adler plans to report to the Village Board monthly.
Next agenda item was resident comment. Connie Xinos of Briarwood provided copies of all village employees’ salaries and benefits, which he had obtained thru FOIA.He advocated a 15% staff reduction. He asked if this committee was willing to make hard decisions and recommendations to the Village Board. George Klein assured Mr. Xinos that the committee would be making difficult decisions and he personally was willing to close both the library and the B&T. Resident Mario Vescovi of Fullersburg advocated a 20% reduction of village payroll. Resident Al Knuth noted he had advocated canceling employee raises.
Adler asked Village Manager Niemeyer to provide salary history for police and fire as well as non-union employees. Niemeyer noted that the Village had been in negotiations with both unions for over a year. The Village may face a significant payment for back pay since the end of the last contract if the new contract includes retroactive payment since the end of the old contract. Village Trustee Aktipis arrived late and asked committee members to serve at least through the end of this year, although their appointments are for two years.
see source document HERE
The CFAC issued their first report on September 4, 2009 (HERE)
They describe the decade-long decline of general sales tax revenue from $11.2M in 1999 to $10.8M in 2008. During the same period, the expenses to run the village have increased from $13.2M in 1999 to $19.6M in 2008.
CFAC notes that the expenses were a mean increase of about 4.8% per year, which is noticeable higher than the 2.9% year increase as reflected in the US Consumer Price Index (CPI.) Since 75% of all costs to the Village general fund are for employee compensation and benefits …
As their sales tax revenues sank, the Village of Oak Brook engaged numerous consultants to provide recommendations on how to reduce services.
The village eliminated 14.75 full-time equivalent positions (FTEs), contributing to a $1.3 million reduction for Fiscal Year 2010.
It considered privatizing library services, recommeded by a consultant, and already contracted out catering services provided to the village-owned Oak Brook Bath & Tennis Club
source: Anna Madrzyk (2009 July 21) “Oak Brook cuts $1.3 million from budget” Daily Herald (HERE)
An issue with the library was the high salaries of the staff.
Apparently, the Oak Brook Bath & Tennis Club continues to lose money.
Statistical Snapshot of Oak Brook
Wealthy community in Chicago suburb
- 8.3 square miles
- 80,000+ weekday population
- 8,700 residents
- Average resident age 50
- Median family income $169,718
- Average home value $635,400
Home to corporate headquarters of McDonalds, ACE Hardware, Federal Signals Corp, Blistex and Lions Club International.
Oak Brook Fire Department
Paid fire/ems department that runs out of two fire stations on a three platoon 24/48 schedule.
$5.1 million budget in FY2010, 4.4% less than FY09.
Link to FY10 budget (HERE)
Command staff is fire chief and 3 battalion chiefs.
Part time EMS, Training and Administrative aide positions.
Eliminated the only Deputy Chief position in FY 2010 budget.
ISO Class 3 rating.
Code enforcement moved into Community Development in FY10, eliminating a fire department secretary position and $60,000 in payments to off-duty firefighters to perform inspection duties (described as Special Details in the budget).
The on-duty staff for Headquarters Station 1 is a battalion chief, Lieutenant and four firefighter/paramedics.
Station 1 staffs an engine, aerial and paramedic ambulance.
Station 2 has a Lieutenant and three firefighter/paramedics.
Station 2 staffs an engine, rescue company and paramedic ambulance.
The FY2010 budget shows shift staffing of:
- 1 Battalion Chief
- 2 Lieutenants
- 7 Firefighter/paramedics
- 2 contract firefighter/paramedics
- on-call personnel
The village has held up on filling two firefighter/paramedic vacancies.
The Teamsters union contract expired at the end of 2007.
IAFF Local 4646 was established March 2008 with 28 members. (thanks to MikeyLikesIt.)
2008 response statistics:
- EMS 1,166
- Fire 1,048, with 4 structure fires
Provides paramedic ambulance service
$100,000 cost per employee a trigger point
As mentioned in the audio, Oak Brook has 28 firefighters or firefighter/paramedics, with a per position cost of over $100,000/year. Salary range for firefighter/paramedic is $51,016 – $68,871.
Village employees costing $100,000 a year seem to be a trigger point for some community leaders.
This link takes you to a interview with Constantine “Connie” Xino, a criminal attorney and president of a homeowners association.
He brutally belittled an 11 year old who spoke to the village council last year in support of the librarians.
Burt Constable (2009 October 1) “Ugly battle has librarians in Oak Brook turning to Teamsters” Daily Herald (LINK)
The Consultant Says
After eliminating the Deputy Chief position, the village contracted with McGrath Consulting Group. A Fire Department Staffing and Resource Deployment Study was issued in December 2009.
From the introductory statement:
During interviews, Village governing officials clearly articulated the probable need to reduce current staffing levels, close one of of the two Village fire stations, and potentially privatize other types of service delivery.
The consultant’s 82 page report addressed the questions asked by the Village governing officials, but did not provide enough cover to support closing a fire station without establishing new agreements with neighboring fire agencies.
Access the report HERE.
What does this mean?
While blunt and cruel, statements made by the Citizens Finance Advisory Committee have been repeated by other community leaders in other parts of the nation. Your fire chief and union president have heard them.
Beyond posting snarky statements on message boards, or harassing the leadership of the wealthy Oak Brook community, we need to refine the methods and tactics used to support our brothers and sisters in every community.
Still Pay ZERO Property Taxes in Oak Brook!
For Oak Brook, there will be municipal elections for the Village president, clerk and three trustee positions in April.
The Fall newsletter from the village calls for overhauling of the police and fire pensions.
Some of the 8,700 village residents are willing to endanger the safety of the 80,000+ individuals that work in the village at high profile corporate headquarters in order to maintain a zero property tax rate.
From their welcome web page message:
Property owners pay no property tax to the Village, as Village services are funded primarily by sales tax receipts. Superior services, including excellent police protection and state-of-the-art emergency medical services, are provided to Oak Brook’s business community and to our residents.
Mike “FossilMedic” Ward
Update: Monday Sept 27 responses from Local 4646 and AFFI HERE
Original article incorrectly identified the Citizen’s Executive Council as the source of the comments. We regret the error.