Voluntary Separation Agreement

The Voluntary Separation Program (VSP) agreement landed in my inbox last evening.

The actual contract agreement signed by qualified individuals is the same for AFSCME union employees as for non-AFSCME IMRF/management/“Chapter 3” employees. Due to the AFSCME side letter and the difference in required numbers of service years for the two groups, I had gotten the idea they were different, so having the agreement cleared that up.

I’ve also discovered that the employees who qualified and took the VSP are prohibited from being rehired to full-time city positions for two years — which was one of the mysteries that prompted me to ask for more information about the VSP agreement in the first place.

The real story, however, is that the VSP, which was arguably sold as a substitute for an Early Retirement Incentive (ERI) under IMRF (and for which the city does not currently qualify) was offered to employees as young as 36. Read the rest of this entry

Reduction in Force Outcomes

DeKalb’s FY2011 budget included a Reduction in Force (RIF) plan to close a budget gap of a couple million. Here is how it played out for about a dozen AFSCME union members who got laid off as part of the RIF in June 2010.

7/13/2009Council approves a side letter to its contract with AFSCME outlining wage concessions in exchange for a promise of no layoffs through the end of the contract expiring 12/31/2010.7/13 meeting minutes

4/7/2010Voluntary Separation Program (VSP) portion of the Reduction in Force (RIF) is offered to eligible employees. Deadline for signup is 5/25, after which layoffs would be made to achieve budgetary goals for FY2011.4/5 special meeting minutes
6/9/2010City follows through on layoffs. HR notifies affected AFSCME employees they would “not be eligible for unemployment until after your two (2) weeks [sic] severance, following your made whole date of December 31, 2010” presumably because they'll be receiving full regular compensation through that date.Daily Chronicle articles 6/9 & 6/10

+ notification to affected employees

(see below)
6/28/2010Approval of FY2011 budget & staffing plan. 6/28 meeting minutes
8/20/2010HR notifies affected AFSCME employees that they do not have to wait until 2011 to apply for unemployment after all; they meet eligibility by being neither on-call nor actively reporting for work.Notifications to affected employees

+ IL Department of Employment Security (IDES)

(see below)
11/19/2010City reimburses IDES for 3rd Quarter unemployment compensation totaling $50,428.IDES invoice mailed 10/23

+ city check register entries
1/28/2011City reimburses IDES for 4th Quarter unemployment compensation totaling $42,394.IDES invoice mailed 1/22

+ city check register entries

Read the rest of this entry

The First Step

One of the citizen commenters at the council meeting last night brought up the City of DeKalb’s Management Pay Plan. She was scandalized by the leap from Step 1 to Step 2. It is easy to see why. Grade One starting pay, for example, is $18.158 per hour but on the first anniversary it jumps to $21.199. That’s a 16.75% increase. After that, annual increases are a more modest 2% per year and in fact they call it the “Two Percent Pay Plan.”

What the commenter seemed not to know is that all city contracts take a big jump from Step 1 to Step 2 (or Step A to Step B).

In 2008, the Police Contract (p. 35) started a patrol officer at an hourly wage of $26.69, which increased to $29.08 at Step B.

The AFSCME contract schedule (p. 40) pays a Building Supervisor at a rate of $28.291 the first year and $33.20 the second.

A new fire fighter makes $23.979 hourly to start, then goes to $29.524.


Good for AFSCME. The union did its job.

AFSCME members voted Wednesday night on a proposal where they will take a wage freeze for one year, and in return, the city will not lay off any workers through the remainder of the contract, which expires Dec. 31, 2010.

I think it would have been fairer to the rest of us if the no-layoff period and the wage freeze period had ended up the same, considering how this affects flexibility in dealing with the financial crises; but, at least they’re holding firm on th — oh, wait.

In addition, AFSCME’s health insurance premium costs will not go up in 2010, Biernacki said. Currently, employees pay 15 percent of the premium, which was supposed to increase to 20 percent on July 1, 2010.

How does the city’s continuing to pick up that 5% of the premium for 70 employees affect the purported $480,000 in FY2010 savings achieved with a citywide wage freeze? The question must be asked and answered before Council can vote on the proposal. I tried to look at Monday’s meeting agenda online to see if it is addressed in a memo but not only did the agenda not load properly, it messed up my browser.