Metro-East News

Probation officers, chief judge meet; mum on details of mediation

The 20th Judicial Circuit chief judge and members of the union representing St. Clair County probation officers met with a mediator Wednesday in hopes of averting a strike.

Participants in the meeting were mum on the details of the session.

Paul Sullivan, president of the Illinois Federation of Public Employees Local 4408, confirmed the two sides had met, but he wouldn’t comment on the status of negotiations or whether a strike would take place.

He has said the earliest a strike would begin is Thursday.

Chief Judge Andrew Gleeson did not return a phone call seeking comment, but had previously said it would be inappropriate to comment publicly as negotiations continued.

The union, which represents probation officers, supervisors and support staff, filed an intent to strike after negotiations, which began in November, had yet to produce a contract.

Union members had concerns over staffing levels, caseloads and comparable pay.

The union includes 50 probation officers, supervisors and support staff in St. Clair, Randolph, Monroe, Perry and Washington counties.

County officials have said the state is behind on reimbursements for probation services, with the amount reaching $5.6 million, including $793,000 from last fiscal year and this year alone.

The tardiness in payments adds to the difficulty of the negotiations, officials said.

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter