Dyer cop may vote on pension benefit increase for police officers
By Christin Nance Lazerus firstname.lastname@example.org September 11, 2012 5:42PM
Joe Cinko | Archive~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 14, 2012 1:42PM
DYER — Town Council will consider a pension benefit increase for police officers Thursday, but council president Jeff Dekker says one of his fellow council members should recuse himself from the vote.
Dekker said he approached council member Joe Cinko, who is a detective commander with the Dyer Police Department, about sitting out the vote because he is employed by the department, but Cinko refused.
Cinko could not be reached for comment.
“We signed onto the Shared Ethics Advisory Commission (in February),” Dekker said. “Joe is actually our liaison to the commission.”
Cal Bellamy, who is president of the commission, emphasized that he doesn’t give opinions on specific matters.
“Currently, our guidelines say that a municipal employee should not participate in any decision she or he has a conflict of interest in, or whose family or business associates would benefit,” Bellamy said.
Dekker wanted more time to consider an ordinance that would increase the police pension benefit, but council members voted 3-2 to place the item on the agenda. Dekker said the ordinance would increase the yearly pension benefit by $4,500 per officer by raising the salary of a first class patrolman from $50,400 to $59,000.
“It would be a very small percentage of the budget, but even small amounts can have an impact and money may not be available for something like road repairs or more employees,” Dekker said.
“We already pay 22 percent of an officer’s salary into the pension benefit.”
Highland passed a similar measure in March, when the Town Council voted 5-0 to raise all salaries by 4 percent. Highland Town Council president Bernie Zemen said the raise — the first one in three years — also gave police retirees a 4 percent raise as well.