Unions bargain for 4-year deals

A four-year agreement with members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees guarantees an overall wage increase of nearly 12 percent over the life of the contract. The union agreement, approved Dec. 15 by village council members, covers 20 full-time municipal employees and five part-time employees, according to Village Administrator Mike Sturino.

The agreement is retroactive to May 1 and covers clerical and administrative staff in the building department, the clerk’s office and police department. Community center employees, parking enforcement officers and code inspectors are also covered.

During the same December meeting, council members approved another four-year union contract that covered 32 members of the police department. In addition to new disciplinary procedures, the agreement promises an annual salary increase of 4 percent, also retroactive to May 1. In a memo to council members, Sturino said the two sides avoided arbitration and saved money on two fronts. Arbitration would have cost at least $30,000 and likely awarded salary increases of 4 percent to 4.5 percent annually, he said.

14 in village receive flood relief

Area property owners received more than $1.7 million in federal relief to help repair damages sustained during a September rainstorm that caused flooding along the Des Plaines River. According to a statement from U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, 7th District, more than 1,160 of the congressman’s constituents were beneficiaries of the federal funding.

In Forest Park, 14 applications for financial assistance were approved. The recipients collected a total of $14,021, according to the congressman’s office.

Residents of nearby Bellwood and Maywood received most of the money that was provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Each community received slightly less than $520,000. Between the two, 795 applications for assistance were approved.

Commuters will face steeper fees

Commuters who park their cars at the end of Blue Line in Forest Park will likely jockey for a spot in the municipal lot once a fare hike takes effect in the parking lot owned by the Chicago Transit Authority.

According to the CTA, the current rate of $3 for 15 hours will be increased to $5 as of Jan. 1, 2009. The rate for monthly passes will double, too, climbing to $80.

The municipality also operates two parking lots near the Desplaines Avenue terminal and, according to a statement from his office, Mayor Anthony Calderone will not support any fare increases to those lots. The rate of $3 for 15 hours will remain in place. The village-maintained parking lots are adjacent and to the north of the CTA parking lot.

In announcing the rate changes, the transit agency reminded commuters that it is the first increase since January 2005.

New contract cuts pay for PR rep

A contract with public relations-vendor TaQuoya Kennedy was approved by District 209 last week, extending the high schools’ relationship with Kennedy to the end of March 2009. At their Dec. 15 meeting, board members agreed to pay Kennedy $5,000 a month.

That salary is what Kennedy has earned since August while she was renegotiating with the district. Previously, Kennedy was making $8,000 per month-or $96,000 a year-based on an agreement that began in October 2007 when she worked as a subcontractor to an IT company that was hired by the district. The district cancelled its contract with the IT firm in June and in August sliced Kennedy’s pay pending a new contract.

The deal is retroactive to Oct. 1.