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Niles Rights Ex-Mayor's Violation of Labor Act, Trustees Say

The village board okayed back pay for six employees who were underpaid, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. One trustee said the then-seated mayor exceeded his authority, ignored village policy and violated the Act.

 

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"The policy (of not permitting full-time employees to work additional part-time job overtime) was not rescinded, it was ignored by the then-seated mayor," she said.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.

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Niles Concerned Citizen March 01, 2013 at 02:31 PM
I am amazed at the content of this article. once again the senior Trustee Louella Preston knew nothing about what was happening in our Village. Lets see, when it came to the original scandal in Niles concerning former Mayor Blase, she said she knew nothing about it. Then there was the whole payout of Village employees with bonuses and cars and once again she said she knew nothing of that either. Now this comes about and she says that she knew nothing again. Tell us Louella, what do you know. You start off every speach stating that you are the most senior trustee on the Board, that you were the first woman, yada yada yada. If so, what have you been doing there for 27 years. There is also Jim Hynes who is running alongside of Louella, who backs her and says she knew nothing, yet you guys say you are the Responsible Leadership Party, where is the leadership and n=more importantly where is the responsibility to your offices? Seems to me that change is inevitable and it will not be including your party.
Doug Bressler March 01, 2013 at 02:50 PM
Andrew Przybylo has been a trustee since 1989. He has not said one word about this issue. At least Preston is commenting. Where was Przybylo when this was happening?
grandpa March 01, 2013 at 03:16 PM
Preston sounds like Sgt. Schultz in the old TV series "Hogans Heroes"; "I know nothing, NOTHING!"
Niles Concerned Citizen March 01, 2013 at 03:47 PM
Yes she is, but lying is not what we need in our Village, haven"t we learned yet? Maybe its time that she is investigated for abuse of public office.
Matthew Lagodzinski March 01, 2013 at 03:53 PM
"Though subodinates informed him the village was violating the Fair Labor Standards Act..." Going forward, I think the real opportunity here is to create a process/mechanism so that subordinates have a way to action a similar situation either via ethics, etc to avoid Village costs and lawsuits.
Niles Concerned Citizen March 01, 2013 at 04:16 PM
Right you are, people need to be held accountable, its funny how Hynes and Preston, who are attorneys, keep racking up lawyer fees. I wonder if they are friends of theirs. maybe the Ethics Committee should look into that.
Matthew Lagodzinski March 01, 2013 at 04:59 PM
I agree people need to be held accountable. I do feel that applies to comments made here as much as it does in the context of the Village. If you have an Ethics complaint, it should be submitted via the process and vetted by the Ethics Board.
Lois A. MacAdam March 02, 2013 at 01:44 AM
If this happened in 1997, where has everyone been since then? Why wasn't it brought to the public's attention and to the attention of the trustees way before this? This is insane. It should have been brought up at the time Mayor Blase was on trial for everything else. Maybe then it could have been settled instead of waiting 16 years.
CK March 02, 2013 at 03:17 AM
Why didn't DeFiglio interview the ever elusive Przybylo who I see was on the board. He was Blase's fair haired boy, and now wants to be mayor, the kind of mayor his campaign literature says will do things like the "good old days." Can't he talk about this or is he too busy with his wonderful $96,000 a year COUNTY JOB or busy at his big restaurant? A real big shot except when he has to answer for his past trustee career.
CK March 02, 2013 at 03:21 AM
Do you think (?) that Blase told Preston he was extorting money through an insurance scam? It is just as logical to assume that Przybylo then also knew since he was on the board then, but you seem to deliberately ignore that aspect. What has Przybylo said about the cars and pensions? I'm sure glad you're not a reporter.
CK March 02, 2013 at 03:25 AM
The more I read your comments the more I am sure there is a service of government that should look into your health.
Jac Charlier March 02, 2013 at 01:38 PM
This fits a well known pattern....When (ongoing) scandal breaks, people who are either dead or retired are easily blamed (correclty or otherwise) by those running from the issue as fast as they can. Also, how is Trustee Przybylo able to become Mayor as the holder of a liquor license? Did something recently change in state statute?
KC March 02, 2013 at 06:10 PM
Yes Jac, the State of Illinois Elected Officials can't find time to reform the pension system, they can't find time to rebuild the financial rating, they can't find time to stop the spending, they can't find time to work for ALL citizens; but they did find time to pass a liquor law for ONE person in the entire state so he could run for Mayor of Niles. Sponsored by Lou Lang and others. If I was a betting man I would bet Niles will have video gaming as a return favor by Mayor Andrew, you can bet on it. Someone should ask Mayor Andrew his position on gaming now?
Niles Concerned Citizen March 03, 2013 at 12:40 PM
All of these comments are appreciated, however there is sooo much more to talk about. As in an earlier article, it seems that Louella Preston has been spending our money on things that shouldn't be. Maybe she should be scrutinized as well. And there is also Chris Hanusiak, a mayoral contender who talks about his Naval service. I have great respect for all Vets, however the way that he talks to the Mayor and others on the Board in more than disrespectful. its insubordinate and condescending. He needs to not only respect the office, but Bob as a Senior as well. You can all talk about Andrew and his restaurant, but remember, that is a tax producing entity in our Village and has been for years. Glad that he produces instead of taking for his own personal gains as others have been doing for years!
SWC March 03, 2013 at 02:31 PM
Ethics Committee? What is that? File a complaint and nothing happens!!!!!! Has anyone ever looked at all the "family" members who currently work in the village? All the "family" members of ex mayor Blase? What positions they hold? What their salaries are? Has anyone ever paid attention to the FEW who get promotions and raises just because......... There is so much insider favoritism it is pathetic and yet nobody seems to notice or care.? Those who try to right the wrongs get ignored!!!!!
Maria Picur March 06, 2013 at 03:41 PM
KC, Why must you call Names ,"fair Haired Blases Boy,Big Shot,Big Restaurant Owner,Big County Job?Its not called for,is this the only Forum you Have to do Name calling?

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