The villages of Clarendon Hills and Hinsdale have called off further discussion of a police-department merger after an "impasse" was reached in negotiations with Clarendon Hills patrol officers, according to a joint release from the villages sent out Wednesday.
It was made clear earlier this year that the stickiest point in negotiations with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) was the loss of the Social Security benefit for Clarendon Hills officers under a consolidated model and how that benefit would be replaced.
READ: Social Security Benefits 'Big Hurdle' in FOP Negotiations
The Clarendon Hills Police Department is among a minority of the state's police agencies that has its officers pay into Social Security and retire with Social Security benefits on top of their standard, locally funded police pension, Clarendon Hills village manager Randy Recklaus said in January.
"The villages and unions continued discussions in good faith on other issues while also working with the Social Security Administration to identify alternatives and impacts," Wednesday's release reads. "In the end, the lack of a mutually agreeable solution on the Social Security problem proved to be insurmountable."
An agreement with the FOP was seen as important to the passage of state legislation that would allow for the unprecedented police department consolidation.
Officers of the Hinsdale Police Department do not pay into Social Security or receive Social Security beneifts.
Wednesday's joint release summarizes the history of police-merger discussions, which were first publicized in October 2011:
The two villages began to explore consolidated police services with the goal of reducing operating costs without impacting services. The two communities have been exploring consolidated police services in earnest for nearly two years, including the development and proposal of legislation to allow municipalities to merge their police departments via intergovernmental agreement. The consolidation was estimated to bring annual savings of $700,000 to $800,000 between the two municipalities.
Legal costs associated with the consolidation discussion were paid for with a grant from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. Both communities remain committed to working together in other ways to provide services to their residents in a cost effective manner.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
There are plenty of ways to keep up on Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills news:
- 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