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Letter: Fire Department Privatization Coming

Jul 14, 2014 09:30PM ● Published by Steven Jack

The town of North Riverside is going to privatize its Fire Department.

Oswego was privatized but instead went the more costly route by using a small loophole to get its members from a 401k plan to a taxpayer funded pension costing the taxpayers almost a million dollars per year since 2008.

A Chicago Sun Times article July 2, 2014, states that the Union will sue if the village who can’t afford to fund these pensions privatizes to save taxpayers. Keep in mind that our legislators passed a law stating that in 2016 they will hold back sales tax revenue from municipalities to fund these plans. Any idea how this will cripple municipalities that rely on these funds to operate? Here are some quotes from the article. “If we don’t totally fund the pension by 2016, they’re going to start intercepting our sales tax,” said Hermanek, 

Mayor Hermanek said North Riverside faces a $1.9 million deficit and is reliant on sales tax revenue, which has been low since the recession. It is interesting what the State Union President says about Fire Districts. Pat Devaney, president of the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois, said newly created or redrawn fire districts have opted to use private companies. But this is the first time he has heard of a municipality trying to privatize an existing department.

Oswego used this same company and was privatized until our non-elected board voted to 
go the more costly route instead of saving taxpayer’s money. The firefighters could keep their current base pay, but would have reduced benefits and would be required to surrender their pensions in favor of a 401(k) program, according to a village memo. This is going to happen all around wait and see. I told everyone years ago that this was coming. Hold on tight.

Pat Stiles, Montgomery

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