Elburn officers joining police union

By on December 19, 2008

by Martha Quetsch

            Elburn police officers are establishing a local chapter of the Illinois Council of Police, a statewide union of law enforcers.

            Richard Bruno, Illinois Council of Police representative, said police departments have the right under state law to form a collective bargaining unit.

            “They (Elburn officers) are simply taking advantage of that option,” Bruno said. “They don’t mean it as a slight to the village.”

            On the Elburn officers’ behalf, Illinois Council of Police petitioned the Illinois Public Labor Relations Board Sept. 3 to represent them for the purpose of collective bargaining with the village, Village Administrator David Morrison said.

            The petition stated that the seven officers in the proposed bargaining unit were all full-time Elburn Police Department employees holding the rank of patrol officer and sergeant.

            On Oct. 3, the Labor Relations Board certified the Illinois Council of Police as the exclusive representative of the Elburn police officers in future collective bargaining.

            Bruno said more than 90 percent of police departments in the Chicago metropolitan area are unionized.

            Elburn Police Detective Pete Pavia said he could not comment on the local union proposal at this time except to say he and his fellow officers are reviewing a bargaining unit contract drafted by the Illinois Council of Police that they will present to the village.

            Being part of the union will guarantee that the Elburn officers will be able to bargain with the village regarding pay rates, wages, employment hours and working conditions.

            As members of the union, the Elburn officers can avail themselves of the organization’s legal staff during future contract negotiations with the village.

            Bruno said regarding police salaries, the proposed contract between the Elburn officers and the village sets forth a “standardized form of compensation.” He declined to elaborate on the terms.

            “It wouldn’t be fair to disclose them, since the village hasn’t seen it (the contract) yet,” Bruno said.

            Currently, the base salary for Elburn police officers is $39,407. Depending on experience, they can start at a higher salary. The starting salary currently is determined by the Police Chief and the Village Administrator. Officers then can gradually move through six levels of salary ranges, topping out at $57,310.

            The salary range for each step increased 5 percent annually until this year, when the Village Board approved a 2.5 percent increase.

            Police administrative staff, including Chief Jim Linane and Commander Steve Smith, are exempt from union membership.