Editorials

Maybe 1,000 violent offenders need supervision, even during a strike

Probation union leader talks about contract negotiations

Paul Sullivan, the leader of the union representing probation officers, supervisors and support staff, in St. Clair County speaks about the issues regarding a possible strike. The union announced Thursday night that it reached a "tentative agreeme
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Paul Sullivan, the leader of the union representing probation officers, supervisors and support staff, in St. Clair County speaks about the issues regarding a possible strike. The union announced Thursday night that it reached a "tentative agreeme

We never saw what a probation officer strike looked like in St. Clair County. We didn’t have to worry about 1,000 violent offenders among us going unsupervised.

There appears to be a deal with the 50 officers responsible for tracking those out of jail or out of prison in St. Clair, Monroe, Randolph, Washington and Perry counties.

But we also saw some stark reality that is directly tied to the choices made by St. Clair County’s leadership.

The state may owe the county $5.6 million dating back to 2010, but getting shorted for eight years is still less than one year of county subsidy for MidAmerica St. Louis Airport taken from the same general fund. County leaders made a choice to keep the staffing so low that the caseload is double or triple the Illinois Supreme Court’s recommended case load.

And St. Clair County leaders set the pay scale that put the median St. Clair County probation employee salary at $44,457 last year compared to $67,830 in Madison County.

The strike threat was apparently effective, but you have to ask whether it should be available to probation officers.

Police officers cannot strike because of the threat to public safety. Corrections officers cannot strike for the same reason.

So why is it not also a threat to public safety to allow the officers standing between the police and jails and prisons to strike?

Maybe there oughta be a law.

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