BELLEVILLE — The City Council voted 15-1 on Monday to hire legal representation after the city's police captains and lieutenants asked to unionize.
Mayor Mark Eckert said he was notified last week that three police captains and four lieutenants have filed a request with the Illinois Labor Relations Board to form a union. The officers are represented by the Policemen's Benevolent Labor Committee.
"Our belief is they're part of management," Eckert said. "Currently, they're salary. If it's granted, this could mean a lot of overtime. It could be expensive."
A captain earns $85,940 and a lieutenant earns $83,198.
The police chief and assistant police chief are not part of the request.
Eckert said this change would not be in the best interest of residents and city officials will question this effort to learn more of its impact.
Eckert said the city will request a hearing on the matter. Law firm Ottosen, Britz, Kelly, Cooper, Gilbert and DiNolfo Ltd. will represent the city in this process.
Ward 5 Alderman Joe Hayden voted "no" on hiring the firm.
They voted after 46 minutes in executive session.
In other news:
* Aldermen voted unanimously to give raises to service and labor employees of the International Union of Building Service Employees Local Union No. 116 and the Laborers International Union of North America Local Union No. 459.
Aldermen approved a three-year contract for each group from May 1, 2012, to April 30, 2015.
There will be an additional 50-cent raise increase for each year and a 1.5 percent longevity increase added to base wages.
* Ward 2 Alderwoman Melinda Hult asked if political campaign signs will be allowed at city owned buildings used as polling places for the general election Tuesday. Hult said she believes the signs are allowed 100 feet from the entrance while the polls are open.
City Attorney Mike Flynn said he does not know if the statute will affect polling places owned by the city.
Mayor Eckert said it's "distasteful" for the city to allow such signs because "city property is neutral." In the weeks leading up to the election, the city has removed signs placed on city property.
Hult said the city should err on the side of caution and not remove any signs Tuesday. She is running for state representative in the 113th Illinois House District.
* Aldermen voted unanimously to transfer $249,199 in Community Development Block Grant funds left over from the South 22nd & Washington Street improvement project to three CDBG-approved projects: South 23rd Street Improvements, South First Street Improvements and Mascoutah Avenue Improvements.
* Aldermen voted unanimously to continue an annexation agreement that will give the city access to about 170 acres to build Belle Valley III Industrial Park in the future.
Contact reporter Jacqueline Lee at email@example.com or 239-2655. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/BNDBelleville.