For now, Belleville Township employees will not get 3 percent raises

With a year to go for the official deadline to close the Belleville Township, the township board on Tuesday voted against Supervisor Dennis Korte’s motion to give the township’s two union employees a 3 percent raise for the township’s last year of operation.

However, since Korte is charged with hiring and firing township employees, he can still grant the raises despite the board’s vote against the measure to amend the township’s budget to pay for the raises.

But if Korte does that, the township’s budget for salaries would run out before the fiscal year ends, Trustee Joy Schreiber said.

When Korte was asked after the meeting if he would authorize the raises, he said he plans to discuss his options with Township Attorney Brian Flynn.

The board voted 3-2 to reject Korte’s motion for the raises. Along with Schreiber, Trustees Michael Hagberg and Joe Swierczek voted against the raises. Trustee Joe Hubbard joined Korte in voting for the raises.

We discussed this during the budget and levy process. I feel that we would be deceiving the public if we reallocate funds to pay for raises at this time.

Belleville Township Trustee Michael Hagberg

The two employees at the center of the dispute — Debbie Dawson and Jennifer Conklin — declined to comment after the meeting.

Earlier this year, the board passed a budget that does not include raises for Dawson and Conklin.

“We discussed this during the budget and levy process,” Hagberg said. “I feel that we would be deceiving the public if we reallocate funds to pay for raises at this time.”

“I think it’s also a little bit deceptive to the city that just now passed an ordinance to accept the township when our terms are over,” Schreiber said.

Schreiber said she researched median pay for government case workers and recent cost of living adjustments and believes the township employees are paid adequately at their current rate.

Dawson currently earns $53,814 annually and Conklin is paid $49,810, according to Hagberg. He also said the workers get health insurance worth $15,000 per year and the township pays 18 percent of their salary into the Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund.

The township board and the Belleville City Council have each passed ordinances calling for the township to be dissolved and for the city to take over the township’s duties on May 15, 2017.

The township gives financial aid to needy individuals, often up to $245 in assistance for rent, utilities and gift cards for food at local discount stores.