Village Manager Larry Deetjen, who devised the “strategy” of ignoring the arbitration order to staff the fire department at 21 under the minimum manning order, immediately jumped into “PR mode” according to Trustee Robert Streit (Dist. 3) in trying to justify not paying the firefighters. Deetjen said told the Daily Southtown that the Illinois State Arbitrator awarded back pay for work that was not performed and that the village refuses to pay for work that is not performed.
Streit said that Deetjen’s statement is nothing more than “political spin” because the compliance order makes it clear that the purpose of awarding the back pay is to put the firefighters in the same position that they would have been in had they been scheduled to work. “Deetjen refused to let them work and intentionally misinterpreted the previous arbitrator’s decision and now he says that the award is for work not performed,” Streit said.
A website linked to supporters of Sandra Bury have continuously attacked Streit and unions falsely claiming that Oak Lawn is facing financial difficulties caused by “political sugar daddies who doled out pension largess to their union masters without thinking about the consequences”. Pensions, of course, are established by the Illinois General Assembly and state law not by the Village Trustees who are required to fund the pensions by law.
The anonymous site, does not have kind words for Streit saying he is “one of these “sugar daddies”, f…..g the average worker and taxpayer”.
The vile website is not the only place where Bury supporters have used the excuse of “protecting the taxpayers” when explaining the failure to settle with the firefighters prior to losing seven consecutive decisions.
Bury disputes Streit’s claim that the village is wasting tax dollars on legal fees to fight the firefighters even though the village has lost seven legal battles. Bury told the Daily Southtown that “the legal costs are “not even close to $3.2 million.” She also said that she favors an appeal because the “taxpayers work very hard for their money, and these rulings have to reflect a respect for that. It’s the right thing to do for the taxpayers.”
Streit said that it is time for Bury and her supporters to quit hiding behind the taxpayers in an effort to make the firefighters look like the bad guys. “This whole idea was Larry Deetjen’s and he lost $3.2 million in the taxpayers’ money plus at least a million dollars in legal fees. The best way to protect the taxpayers is for Larry (Deetjen) to resign,” said Streit.
Mayor Bury has stated that the village does not have the $3.2 million dollars it owes the firefighters. Interest continues to accrue and within another six months, the figure may reach $3.5 million. Bury has stated that the village may have to institute a special tax levy to pay the firefighters.
While noting that they successfully convinced the electorate to throw out the previous Mayor and two Trustees in the last election, the pro-Bury anonymous website blasts Streit and the voters. The website states that Streit is now campaigning asking the “braindead electorate” to elect him for more “fiscal recklessness”.
Streit said that he has a hard time comprehending the illogical rants on the website. “The Bury group doesn’t have any respect for the taxpayers, the employees or the truth”, said Streit.