What Others Are Saying
The backdrop for all of this, of course, is the city’s $420 million budget hole, which will likely require hundreds of layoffs, unfilled positions, and early retirements to plug--though the Daley administration hasn't been saying much about it. Some aldermen, though, are quietly suggesting that Donahue’s union could pay for a few more jobs if it were willing to give up a few costly perks. On top of their regular pay, officers receive $730 every three months for “duty availability”—that is, simply being on call, even though they get additional overtime pay if they actually have to take an extra shift. They receive another $600 every three months to pay for new uniforms, and they can take a check for any furlough time they deserve but don’t use. These benefits add up to about $73 million a year.
"Apparently the aldermen grumbling about such things don’t see the hypocrisy of their grumblings," Donahue says. "The average police officer coming out of the police academy onto the force is going to make an investment of $7,000 to $9,000 dollars—the department doesn’t buy the uniform, doesn’t buy the guns, doesn’t buy the shoes. What would the aldermen say if we proposed cutting the money for their staff and expenses?"
Costly perks? How about the aldercreatures annual $1 million "discretionary fund" which ends up being spent on sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, wives, etc so as to keep the entire million in the family? The TIF slush fund? The City Council approving all sorts of settlements and legal work to connected law firms? Those monies alone dwarf contractually negotiated perks and might even fill Shortshank's budget hole.
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