LYONS – Protesters of the village of Lyons' decision to lay off nearly a third of its police force in April lined Lawndale Avenue across from Village Hall prior to Wednesday's meeting.
Supporters of the village's decision and those opposed once again crammed into the village's meeting room to trade barbs at one another and voice their opinion on the issue. Public comments took up the majority of the meeting's time.
The meeting was largely a repeat of the board's April 16 meeting that addressed the layoffs and heard public comment on the issue. In an update on negotiations between the Fraternal Order of Police and the village, Village President Chris Getty told the audience the village was still in negotiations and, after meeting with the FOP on April 28, Getty said the village's third proposal was turned down.
Supporters of the village's position who spoke at the meeting praised Getty specifically for saving the village money with the layoffs.
Opponents, which included residents from Brookfield concerned about how the Lyons police layoffs would affect their police force, largely accused the village, and Getty specifically, with putting residents in danger. Residents passionately spoke about the need for more police officers in Lyons, with several saying they felt unsafe in town. Other supporters of the laid off officers, which included members of the officer's union, accused the village of misrepresenting the negotiations. Residents pushed the village to be more transparent about the negotiations with the public so they could make an educated decision. Several accused the village of misleading residents about the union's demands, including that union members wanted a 12 percent raise, which the wife of a former Lyons officer who lives in Brookfield said was untrue.
Union spokesman Keith Turney said the union did not want to negotiate in public at the meeting, but said that although the village has the right to lay off the officers, "Having those rights doesn't mean you're doing the right thing."
The village president and trustees were largely silent for the meeting. Trustee Patricia Krueger was the only trustee to speak on the issue and warned trustees that the village could face a dangerous situation if more officers weren't added to shifts.
"You can't have police officers working 18 hours a day," Krueger said. "It's an accident waiting to happen."