Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills police merger is dead
Hinsdale Police Station
- Social Security may kill Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills police merger
- Plans continue for Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills police merger
- Meeting set on Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills police merger
- Police department merger would make history
- Clarendon Hills manager thought police compensation merger would mute Social Security issue
Updated: April 15, 2013 6:12AM
HINSDALE — The consolidation of police departments in Hinsdale and Clarendon Hills, which has been a focus of discussion for about two years, is not going to happen.
“It’s very disappointing,” said Hinsdale Village Manager David Cook.
Social Security payments received by Clarendon Hills officers, but not by those in Hinsdale, ultimately killed the plan.
In Clarendon Hills, officers continued paying into Social Security when the federal government offered a one-time opt-out in 1983; Hinsdale police have not paid into Social Security since that time. With a consolidated department, Clarendon Hills officers would lose at least some of their Social Security benefits.
“That was the issue,” Cook said Wednesday. “We tried for three or four months to find alternatives that would be amendable to the Clarendon Hills officers, but they preferred remaining in the Social Security system.”
In addition to retirement benefits, the officers could be eligible for other benefits through Social Security, such as disability and payments to dependents, Cook said.
“We offered an alternate private (insurance) policy to replace those benefits, but they rejected it,” Cook said.
Reducing operating costs without impacting services was the goal of a possible consolidation of the two neighboring police departments, a move that has never been done in Illinois. Hundreds of hours of work by staff in both villages were completed in hopes of making the consolidation a reality, including the development and proposal of legislation to allow municipalities to merge their police departments via intergovernmental agreement. The consolidation would have saved an estimated $700,000 to $800,000 annually between the two municipalities.
Over the last several months, the villages worked with the Fraternal Order of Police to discuss potential wages and benefits of the consolidated department. The villages and unions continued discussions in good faith on other issues while also working with the Social Security Administration to identify alternatives and impacts. In the end, the lack of a mutually agreeable solution on the Social Security problem proved to be insurmountable, according to a statement from both villages.
“We put a lot of hard work into this and the consolidation would have saved both communities a substantial amount of money,” Cook said. “It’s very disheartening.”
“From the village standpoint,” Cook said, “we are going to continue to try to work together with other communities” to share resources and reduce costs. “It may not (involve) the police, but communities are going to have to find a new operating model, which may involve consolidation.”
In their statement, Hinsdale and Clarendon Hills officials said they “remain committed to working together in other ways to provide services to their residents in a cost-effective manner.”
Legal costs associated with the consolidation discussion were paid for with a grant from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.~.