After a judge ruled against the city of Harvey as it seeks money the Illinois Comptroller’s Office is holding, the city’s mayor warns that massive layoffs could be on the horizon.
Harvey Mayor Eric Kellogg convened an emergency meeting on Monday after a judge ruled that the state acted appropriately in withholding $1.4 million to cover shortfalls in the city’s pension plan.
“The city of Harvey has never undergone massive layoffs like the ones we’re expecting for our police and fire departments,” Kellogg said.
Kellogg accused the state of playing politics, and city leaders are concerned that there isn’t enough money in the bank to cover payroll expenses for first responders.
“It’s unfortunate that our state leaders, specifically our comptroller, have no interest in the safety of the people of Harvey,” Police Chief Gregory Thomas said.
In a statement, Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s office said it acted appropriately.
“The legislature passed a law allowing pension funds to certify to our office that municipalities have failed to make required payments to pension funds,” the statement reads.
“The municipality has a chance to respond. A judge ruled today in favor of the Harvey Police Pension Fund, saying the funds were appropriately put on hold. This dispute is between the pension fund and the city of Harvey," Mendoza's office continued.
In 2015, a Cook County judge ruled that the city of Harvey owed more than $7.3 million to its police pension fund after it failed to make payments for nearly a decade. Mendoza withheld the $1.4 million in revenues to satisfy that judgment, according to Courthouse News.
The mayor said Monday that city officials would be crunching numbers through the night to avoid what he called “massive layoffs.”
City employees said they anticipated finding out if they were still employed on Tuesday morning, with tensions high as they said they were waiting for the axe to fall.