Park Ridge union contract supported after multiple City Council votes
Updated: November 12, 2012 10:42AM
PARK RIDGE — Following an approval, an upheld veto and a reconsideration vote, a group of Park Ridge employees now have the contract union leaders negotiated with the city earlier this year.
In what was one of the more unusual actions taken by the Park Ridge City Council this year, aldermen on Nov. 7 reversed an earlier decision to sustain Mayor David Schmidt’s veto of a labor contract with the local Illinois Council of Police and Sheriffs (ICOPS) union which represents 33 employees across several city departments.
Fifth Ward Alderman Dan Knight was the only alderman to support the veto.
The City Council had approved the contract in August, saw it vetoed by the mayor on Sept. 4 and upheld the mayor’s veto on Sept. 17, leading to an unfair labor practice filed against the city.
But 1st Ward Alderman Joe Sweeney’s vote to uphold the veto of the contract, even though he had stated he was opposed to such an action, led 6th Ward Alderman Marc Mazzuca to call for a reconsideration of the vote. Mazzuca, who had also voted in favor of sustaining the mayor’s veto on Sept. 17, changed his vote on Nov. 7, as did Sweeney.
“By changing his ICOPS vote (on Sept. 17), Ald. Sweeney forced the city staff to spend a lot of extra time and effort addressing his personal concerns,” Mazzuca told the Park Ridge Herald-Advocate. “I changed my vote to make sure he didn’t end up costing the taxpayers of Park Ridge anything more than the time and effort we had already lost.”
Mazzuca said upholding the veto would cause the city to incur legal and staff-time costs.
Sweeney said he voted to sustain the mayor’s veto on Sept. 17 because he did not want to be blamed by the mayor for voting in support of the contract.
Schmidt had been opposed to the ICOPS contract because it contained pay raises of 1 to 2 percent for employees during a time when the city is struggling financially.
Rich Bruno, an ICOPS representative, said the unfair labor practice would be withdrawn if the mayor’s veto was overridden by the council.