Police Merger: Social Security Not Seen as 'Dealbreaker' Early On
Clarendon Hills Police Chief Ted Jenkins said the non-negotiable nature of the Social Security benefit makes it attractive to his patrol officers.
Clarendon Hills Police Chief Ted Jenkins said he didn’t imagine his patrol officers’ Social Security benefits would be what killed talks of a Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills police-department merger.
“I don’t think anybody thought that was going to be a deal-breaker from the beginning, but it turned out to be a major problem,” Jenkins said.
The Clarendon Hills Police Department was among a minority of agencies that in 1983, when given a chance to opt out, decided to have its officers continue paying into Social Security and retiring with Social Security benefits on top of their standard, locally funded police pension, Clarendon Hills village manager Randy Recklaus said in January.
Hinsdale Police Department officers are among the majority of Illinois officers who do not pay into Social Security and do not receive Social Security benefits, and Recklaus said if the departments were to consolidate, the new department would not have legally been allowed to offer Social Security benefits.
The villages of Hinsdale and Clarendon Hills announced on March 6 that negotiations with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) on behalf patrol officers in the two towns had reached an impasse over the Clarendon Hills Social Security issue, and merger plans were being scrapped.
Village manager Randy Recklaus told The Doings he thought the total compensation package offered by the villages was enough to make up for the loss of Social Security, but Jenkins, who as chief is not an FOP member, said the non-negotiable nature of the federal benefit made it desirable to his officers.
“There are insurance policies that address those types of risk in your life,” Jenkins said. “The problem is when you’re giving those policies in exchange for Social Security benefits, those policies become a negotiable item in future contract negotiations. … Those are on the table.”
Jenkins said the patrol officers bargained in good faith, did not make any outlandish demands, and are not to be blamed for holding the line on Social Security.
“I can't fault them for that at all,” Jenkins said.
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There are plenty of ways to keep up on Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills news:
- Police Chief 'Disappointed' After Merger Fails
- Police Merger Plan Scrapped After Negotiations Fail
- Social Security Benefits 'Big Hurdle' in FOP Negotiations
- Police Merger: Patti Bellock Says Referendum Idea Came From Residents
- Police Merger: Clarendon Hills Board Says No to April Referendum
- Police Merger Would Eliminate 5 Positions, Save Villages Up to $800K, Officials Say