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County court security officers’ raises likely to alter budget

GENEVA – After years of negotiation and weeks of threatening a strike, Kane County’s court security officers have apparently acquired small pay raises in their new collective bargaining agreement.

Wednesday, the County Board Finance Committee recommended the board sign off on adjusting the county’s budget to provide an additional $311,000 to pay the county’s court security officers.

Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez said the budget adjustment was necessary after the county and the Policemen’s Benevolent Labor Committee, a union representing the security officers, reached agreement on a new five-year contract – retroactive to the end of the last contract, which expired in December 2008.

The new contract would expire in November.

Perez said the new contract would boost the pay of officers by 2 percent per year, applicable to wages earned in 2012 and 2013. Officers also would earn a stipend for the first two years of the contract, and officers with at least eight years of service as of 2009 would be allowed to have the temporary pay bump applied to their base wages and the 2 percent wage increases.

Court security officers currently earn base salaries of $25,000 to $35,000 a year.

Union representatives said that ranked the security guards at the entrances of Kane County’s courthouses among the lowest paid county courthouse security officers in the Chicago area.

The officers had worked without a contract since 2008. But as the contract talks moved into 2013, the officers voted to authorize a strike in January. However, officers never walked off the job while negotiations continued.

The union and a county negotiation team reached a deal in March, averting a strike. 

The union members approved the new contract 21 to 7.

The County Board is expected to vote on the contract at its meeting April 9.

A document circulated at Wednesday’s Finance Committee meeting said the money for the additional wages and benefits would be taken for this year from a county contingency fund, which is in place to deal with expenses that were not budgeted for this year.

Perez said he is “glad to have this behind him.”

But he noted that the contract will expire in about seven months, setting the stage for another round of talks.

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