Springfield, Illinois Metropolis Council approves the Parental Depart Ordinance

Springfield, Illinois City Council approves the Parental Leave Ordinance

The Council will hold a special session on March 30th on the Legacy Pointe Sports Complex

After a lengthy and lively discussion and some peace of mind from its sponsor, Springfield City Council passed a landmark Maternity / Paternity / Adoption Leave Ordinance for city workers on Tuesday 6-4.

It gives all union and non-union workers four weeks of paid vacation after the birth or adoption of a child.

Meanwhile, an ordinance authorizing the implementation of a development agreement between the city and Legacy Park Sports, LLC for a sports complex behind Scheels on MacArthur Boulevard near Interstate 72 has been removed from the debate by Ward 6 Ald. Kristin DiCenso.

Since the agreement with the developer had not yet been finalized, DiCenso requested a special city council meeting, which will now take place on March 30th.

Ward 8 Ald. Erin Conley, who proposed the maternity / paternity ordinance, said vacation time was “a benefit to the people of Springfield,” and city workers shouldn’t have to choose between sick leave and family time.

“We invest in our people,” said Conley.

Before the vote, Conley shared a personal story about how she faced major surgery years ago as a single mother with three children.

Conley said she did not have enough sick time that the state of Illinois gave her time for her.

“It took me a year to earn that time back,” said Conley. “I was a single parent and had no family in this town. I had to rely on my friends. I had to scrape my way to get my children to where they needed to be and what they needed.”

See also: Springfield Committee Green Light Legacy Park Plan, Paternity / Maternity Leave

Paid vacation, Conley said, was one way for the city to let employees know, “We value them, and we want them to do their best at work and lead a home life. Everyone deserves it.”

Ward 1 Ald. Chuck Redpath claimed that the ordinance “is not right for the City of Springfield” and that the unions representing the city workers should sit around the negotiating table with the city on the issue.

Ward 10 Ald. Ralph Hanauer agreed with Redpath on this question and reiterated his view from last week’s committee over the entire discussion that the vacation would be a drain on the city’s coffers.

“It’s a tough vote for everyone sitting here,” said Ward 1 Ald. Chuck Redpath on Maternity / Paternity Leave Regulations before Springfield City Council. It comes from a very personal story by Ward 8 Ald. Erin Conley. # SJRBreaking

– Steven Spearie (@StevenSpearie) March 17, 2021

Conley countered that vacation was not a union issue but “an employment issue that should apply to all of our employees.”

Newly seated district 3 Ald. Roy Williams Jr. said he was “shocked” that the city does not yet have some form of parental leave.

“I think we’re behind the ball,” said Williams.

Like Redpath, McMenamin encouraged Mayor Jim Langfelder to veto the ordinance. McMenamin said he would have liked to see the ordinance returned to the whole committee in hopes of working out a compromise.

Redpath, McMenamin, Hanauer, and Ward 4 Ald. John Fulgenzi voted against the regulation.

Afterward, Conley said that voting for regulation meant a lot to her, but that it was also about moving Springfield forward and making it worth living in.

“I think it has been said several times tonight, our people are the ones who make the city government work,” added Conley. “We sit around the horseshoe and can get things out of there, but we voted to support our employees, support families and do it in a meaningful way, and yes, I am proud that the City of Springfield has one Management takes over during parental leave.

“I think this is critical and I hope other churches will follow suit because it should be.”

A previously approved change to the city’s budget allocated $ 300,000 to overtime and other costs related to the proposed maternity and paternity leave for city workers.

“It really depends on how high the future costs will be,” Langfelder said afterwards. “I think everyone agrees: we’d love to do it. The question is, can we afford to do it?”

The council unanimously passed a regulation setting parameters for how half of the 3% of a cannabis excise tax destined for the east side should be spent.

Springfield imposed the additional excise tax on sales effective July 1st.

The ordinance stipulated that $ 350,000 annually would be allocated to new and rehabilitated businesses with at least 51% minority stake, while $ 100,000 would be allocated annually to condominium renovations.

The other half of the excise tax is due on police and fire department pensions.

An ordinance approving the renewal of a cable television franchise agreement with Comcast of Illinois / Indiana / Ohio, LLC has been filed. A Comcast representative is due to be present at the next city council meeting to answer questions.

Contact Steven Spearie: 217-622-1788, sspearie@sj-r.com, twitter.com/@StevenSpearie.