In wake of Dyer police pension controversy, council president ousted
By Christin Nance Lazerus email@example.com September 30, 2012 11:32PM
Workers use a large crane to hoist a slab of concrete as they begin to repair the stream crossing on Stillwater Parkway on Thursday, September 27, 2012, in Crown Point. | Scott R. Brandush~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 2, 2012 6:20AM
The Dyer Town Council voted to oust its council president at its Thursday meeting, weeks after a contentious discussion about police pensions.
The council voted 3-2 to oust Jeff Dekker from the post and named Debbie Astor as the new council president. Astor is the council liaison to the Metropolitan Police Commission.
Dekker, a Republican, has a two years and three months remaining in his first term on the council.
Dekker said that he was disappointed by the move, but not surprised.
“Typically we’ll change offices at the beginning of year, but there’s no regulation saying that we have to do that,” Dekker said. “I think it’s retribution for bringing attention to the way the council went about approving the police pension increase.”
On Thursday, the council approved the second reading of an ordinance that raises the pensions of police officers who are nearing retirement or already retired by about $4,500 per year. The ordinance increases pensions by trimming pay for each current officer by about $283 and taking $48,200 from the general fund.
Dekker said the money now devoted to pensions was established for any use within the police department.
“I would prefer it to be used for public safety,” Dekker said. “But when fund was established, the police heard that it can be used for wages. The bottom line is as elected officials we have a fiduciary responsibilty for all town resources.”