The Niles board of trustees on Tuesday voted to approve paying $74,000 in back pay and fees to six employees who were underpaid for overtime work, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act, starting around 1997.
In introducing the issue, Trustee Jim Hynes said an attorney for one of the underpaid employees brought the matter to the village's attention.
At that time, full-time employees were working additional overtime hours in part-time positions, he said, "and they weren't paid appropriate overtime."
The board as a whole decided these employees should be paid in full what was owed and appropriate attorney's fees, he said.
Trustee Rosemary Palicki commented, "It's important we clarify this was s decision by the then-seated mayor to act without the advice and consent of the board of trustees and in so doing, exceeded his authority," she said.
Though subodinates informed him the village was violating the Fair Labor Standards Act, he continued, she said, adding the village was now righting the situation for the underpaid employees.
"The policy (of not permitting full-time employees to work additional part-time job overtime) was not rescinded, it was ignored by the then-seated mayor," she said.
Trustee Louella Preston, who was on the board in 1997, said, "I wish to make it clear that as a member of the board when these violations occurred, the board was totally unaware of the violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act. We have never approved a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. How that came about and how it continued needs further investigation."
No one spoke in defense of the former mayor. Though he was not mentioned by name Tuesday, Nicholas Blase held the position from 1961 through 2008.
Following is what the village determined was owed to the underpaid employees:
- Employee A, $54,736
- Employee B, $1,460
- Employee C, $1,018
- Employee D, $2,512
- Employee E, $1,027
- Employee F, $334
In addition to these, $13,000 in attorney's fees was approved, for a total of $74,087.