McHenry Co. (ECWd)-
The former Algonquin Township Road District Highway Commissioner, Bob Miller, signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) just weeks before leaving office after losing his re-election efforts. The signing of that agreement eludes his memory though as his position on the subject is he knows of no records relating to that agreement. We covered that memory loss in this article.
While many have focused their anger on the legal bills the current highway commissioner has incurred in relation to the termination of three employees on his first day in the office, and the subsequent legal battles of fighting a union contract, there are some valid reasons related to those expenses that need some explanations. However, before we get into those issues in Part II and Part III of this series, we will start from the beginning of the CBA and its impact on the taxpayers.
- Employees will pay NO MORE than 10% of the cost for Health Insurance that must be provided by the Road District. Taxpayers pick up the rest.
- Employees pay NOTHING for Life Insurance that the Road District is required to provide. Taxpayers pick up that entire tab.
- Cost of living increases by 1.5% every year for the first 4 years, 2% for the 5th year of the CBA.
- Employees shall receive a $.25 cent per hour wage increase, per quarter on January 1, March 1, June 1, and September 1 until their wage reaches the highest rate of pay, $33.00 an hour.
For those that missed it, per quarter normally means just that, but not the case with the Bob Miller CBA. Rather than actually increasing wages every quarter, the contract outlines it increases on January 1, then again two months later on March 1, then again three months later, and again three months later. One would have normally expected the elected official would have caught the increases happening sooner than each quarter, which is yet another increased burden on the taxpayers for years to come.
- Nonunion current payroll for Road District workers was approximately $440,064.00.
- Post-CBA payroll for Road District workers jumps to approximately $799,510.40 and will climb even higher based on the above-mandated increases every quarter and every year.
- Cost of a union contract to the taxpayers based on current figures - $359.446.40 per year.
Run that $359.446.40 per year number out 5 years and the taxpayers have been provided a burden of over $1,797,232.00 Million dollars above what they would have had to pay without the CBA signed by Bob Miller as his parting gift after losing an election.
As if $1.797 Million dollars is not bad enough, it will be even higher when the applicable raises get included.
While we understand legal bills were substantial, few understand the real reason as to why Andrew Gasser took the steps he took. While it is easy to look back and judge his actions now that the results are known, key points have never been shared which provide what many will consider worthy reasoning, and yes, others will disagree.
But for now, the taxpayers can thank Bob Miller for what will become a multi-million dollar taxpayer burden they would have never had if it weren't for the Union Contract. Even if the legal bills on this matter were to exceed a million dollars, its a drop in the bucket compared to what the taxpayers will have to pay just in wage-related increases and pension benefits because of Miller's actions.
We say Miller's actions purposely. While we understand the employees can take the steps to unionize, we believe if there would have been proper collective bargaining that took place under the new administration it would have ensured to some degree a better deal for the taxpayers.
As it stands, Miller owns this one and please don't forget, those new burdens on the taxpayers are tied to that lifetime pension benefit. That being the case, once again the taxpayers carry the freight as long as these people are working and or drawing a pension.
No matter what side of the ongoing Road District issues people lean towards, we can assure you Part II and Part III are going to put a lot of things in perspective and finally provide some answers as to why certain actions were taken by the current Road District Highway Commissioner.