Tonight the Oak Lawn Board of Trustees will be voting on an amendment allowing Oak Lawn businesses to pay wages below the Cook County minimum wage. This despite objections by outgoing Oak Lawn Trustee Mike Carberry (District 6) that this amendment should go through the proper channels of the Legislative, License and Ethics Committee and proper time and discussion devoted to the issue.
Two weeks ago, at the April 25th Board meeting, the same amendment came before the Board. The amendment affects an ordinance pertaining to jurisdiction over wages and benefits of employees working within the Village of Oak Lawn.
Cook County passed an ordinance in October 2016 to raise minimum wage incrementally over the next 3 years. In July, the minimum wage will rise to $10 per hour. Then a year later, it will rise to $11 per hour. In 2019 it will go up to $12 per hour. Then in 2020, it will go up to $13 per hour. After that, it should rise with inflation.
Local municipalities can choose to opt out of the County’s ordinance. This would allow businesses within those municipalities to continue paying the State minimum wage of $8.25 per hour. The ordinance amendment before the Oak Lawn Board of Trustees would have make that possible.
However, the amendment was “tabled” by the Board on April 25th, due in large part to Trustee Carberry’s objections. He objected to the ordinance, he said, because it had not gone through a proper vetting process.
“There’s been no discussion, at all, and there should be. That’s why we have an ethics & ordinance committee. That’s where it should have been. It should have gone to ethics & ordinance. It should have been discussed and vetted.”
The committee Carberry referred to is officially called the Legislative, License and Ethics Committee. As part of its purview, it is supposed to vet new ordinances and amendments to existing ordinances. However, despite having two weeks to hold a meeting of this committee in order to discuss the amendment, no meeting has yet been held to vet the ordinance.
Trustee Bud Stalker (District 6) agreed with Carberry, stating “I also agree that it should have gone through ethics and ordinance, and I think we should follow our own procedure when we’re bringing ordinances to the table.”
Trustee Terry Vorderer (District 4) also concurred with that ideal. “To give it two more weeks, where we could feel more comfortable, use our own process, the legal and ordinance, I’d feel more comfortable doing it that way.”