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Minimum Wage Ordinance Will Create Financial Disadvantage for Cook County Businesses

October 21, 2016

On October 5, certain commissioners introduced a Minimum Wage Increase Ordinance for all Cook County businesses with a vote scheduled for October 25.  This quick action leaves local businesses with only a few days to analyze the financial impact and assess their ability to cover this immense and unexpected new cost.

Businesses were not informed of this huge cost increase nor did they have an opportunity to prepare or budget for it. With their yearly budgets already set, they will now be forced to increase their staff salaries by 27% literally overnight and 58% over the next 20 months.  This massive wage increase will undoubtedly create a substantial financial disadvantage for Cook County businesses and will hurt the extensive efforts by suburban municipalities to attract new businesses, create new economic development opportunities and grow jobs.

Recent actions by the Cook County Board to pile on a massive Minimum Wage Hike, an expensive Paid Sick Leave regulation and a costly Beverage Tax all at once will be devastating to our local economy and will no doubt shutter the doors of many businesses along with the loss of numerous jobs for our hardworking residents. All of this excessive government regulation thrown onto small businesses is a formula for economic disaster.

The Illinois State Supreme Court has concluded that local labor conditions in our state should rest with the Illinois General Assembly who are charged with legislating “carefully crafted and balanced economic policies”; not local home rule units of government. And the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office has opined that “Cook County lacks the home rule authority to enact such an ordinance.” That’s why I strongly urge any of my board colleagues who want to legislate fiscal policies over private employers to seek office in the Illinois General Assembly which is the appropriate venue to do so. Not the Cook County Board.

Sean M. Morrison
Cook County Commissioner
17th District

Cook County Ordinance Proposal Attacks Private Businesses Again

September 30, 2016

Chicago, IL – A proposed ordinance was introduced to the Cook County Board of Commissioners on June 29 that calls for a major regulation establishing mandatory“Employer Paid Sick Leave for Residents of Cook County”.  This ordinance, if passed, will directly impact every single business within Cook County, regardless of size. The proposal is currently in the Finance Committee and will be called for a vote at the next Cook County Board Meeting on Wednesday, October 5.

As Commissioner of the suburban 17th District, Morrison has deep concern about the direct impact it will have on businesses in the 17th District. “As a small business owner myself, I can’t imagine how this government regulation would not place a greater financial burden on businesses.  Moreover, the vast majority of the 17th District borders DuPage and Will counties and I can foresee this ordinance creating a competitive disadvantage for those Cook County businesses in proximity to the county border,” said Commissioner Morrison.

Commissioner Morrison also believes that this competitive disadvantage would also serve to hinder the extensive attempts by suburban communities to attract new businesses, create new economic development opportunities and grow jobs throughout suburban Cook County. For these reasons and several others is why Commissioner Morrison stated his firm opposition to this proposed regulation.

Many questions have been raised about this proposed regulation since its introduction earlier this summer. Is it legal for a local government body to apply a mandatory paid regulation to private companies?  Why have all governmental bodies been excluded from this proposed ordinance?  Does Cook County presume that government takes precedence over private employers? Will the proposed ordinance exempt companies that already offer PTO (Paid Time Off) to its employees? Or, will ‘Paid Sick Leave’ be in addition to existing PTO programs? Will it also apply to union employees working under a Collective Bargaining Agreement? If not, why?

“The meddling by Cook County to mandate the private sector’s pay requirements is a bridge too far. I cannot see how this passes any legal hurdles if challenged in court. This is another example of overreaching authority by the Cook County Board and bad public policy. If passed, it will certainly have further negative impact on our local economy” concluded Commissioner Morrison.

Commissioner Morrison Creates Website to Support the Men and Women of Law Enforcement

July 12, 2016

Chicago, IL – To show support and unity with the men and women of local law enforcement who serve and protect, Cook County Commissioner Sean M. Morrison has created the website www.LightsForBlue.com which offers assistance to the public as to how they can show their support for their local law enforcement through a public display of blue and by signing an online petition of support for rank and file police officers.

“As our nation mourns over the vicious and unconscionable attacks of our men and women in blue, we are asking everyone to pray for those who have lost their lives last week to those who would viciously ambush our first line of defense, the men and women who protect all Americans. It is a sad day for law enforcement and a sad day for America,” said Commissioner Morrison.

Commissioner Morrison is asking the public to display blue lights and/or flags at their homes, on their vehicles or wherever they feel it to be appropriate.  Blue ribbons wrapped around trees will also signify support for our police officers.  Commissioner Morrison believes it is critical at this time to show our men and women in blue that we have their backs, as they would ours.

“I am humbly trying to advance public support for our fine men and women of law enforcement so I’m asking people who visit the www.LightsForBlue.com website to share it with others through social media to grow the support movement for our police officers. At a difficult time like this, they need all of our support,” stated Commissioner Morrison. He also believes this is not only a time for citizens to show their public support for police but also for elected officials and government offices across the country to show unwavering solidarity with the police officers who put their lives on the line every single day. 

Commissioner Morrison and Cook County Board honor 2016 Silver Star Banner Veterans

June 29, 2016

Chicago, IL – Cook County Commissioner Sean M. Morrison was pleased to join the Cook County Dept. of Veteran Affairs to honor the 2016 Silver Star Banner recipients at the June 29 Cook County Board Meeting. Silver Star Banner recipients are those veterans who have been wounded in a war zone as determined by the Department of Defense.

“It’s always humbling to honor our nation’s veterans and even more so when it’s our own constituents.  The bravery, dedication and sacrifice by our veterans is immeasurable and should never be taken for granted or forgotten. Our Silver Star Banner recipients represent the very best our nation has to offer and so pleased to recognize them,” stated Commissioner Morrison.

Attending today’s ceremony from the 17th District was 2016 Silver Star Banner recipient United States Marine Corps Veteran John L. Szymanski (Pictured) of Palos Park. Sergeant John Szymanski, a Vietnam War veteran, is a three-time Purple Heart recipient and a recipient of the Navy Cross which is awarded for extraordinary heroism.  The Navy Cross is the second highest military decoration that may be awarded to a member of the Navy, Marine Corps, (and to members of the Coast Guard when operating under the authority of the Dept. of the Navy).

Also honored today from the 17th District with a Silver Star Banner, but not in attendance, were: Army Veteran Michael E. Lake, Army Veteran William E. Scanlin and Army Veteran Michael J. Zarembski.

To qualify for the Silver Star Service Banner Program, Silver Star Families of America define wounded as the “Definition of war zone as determined by the Department of Defense”: Any Armed Forces personnel either currently serving honorably or those who have served honorably from any war, who having served in a war zone has been wounded by enemy action or who have been injured or contracted a serious illness that could be rated at least 10% disabled by the Department of Veteran Affairs.  All wounds, injuries or illnesses must have originated in a war zone, including: Purple Heart recipients, victims of friendly fire, injured in a war zone, and those who suffer from PTS, TBI, Agent Orange Effects and Gulf War Syndrome. 

Fire Truck Donated to Moraine Valley Community College in honor of fallen Chicago Firefighter Daniel Capuano

May 19, 2016

Palos Hills, IL – Commissioner Sean M. Morrison joined Fire Chief Michael Schofield of the Orland Fire Protection District on Wednesday to present a fire truck to Moraine Valley Community College (MVCC) and its Fire Science Academy for student training. 

Pictured Above: (L-R) Andrew Hufnagl, Coordinator, MVCC Fire Science & Emergency Medical Services, Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison, 17th District, and Chief Michael Schofield, Orland Fire Protection District, inspect the donated Fire Truck in honor of Daniel Capuano.

The fire truck was dedicated and named in remembrance of the late Chicago Firefighter Daniel Capuano who died in the line of duty last December at a burning warehouse in the city of Chicago’s South Chicago neighborhood. The event also featured a ceremonial procession of fire trucks from several other local suburban fire departments in attendance for the special dedication in honor of Firefighter Capuano.

The fire truck, a 1999 Pierce, could’ve easily been discarded in the usual trade-in or re-sale fashion as in most vehicle transactions. But, Chief Schofield and the Orland Fire Protection District recognized that its fire truck still could provide valuable use and worked with Commissioner Morrison’s 17th District Office to explore possible re-use opportunities.  There were many discussions over a period of time as to how and where the fire truck could be utilized, which ultimately led to MVCC’s Fire Science Academy. 

“This is where intergovernmental cooperation is vital to the benefit of our communities. And in this very special instance, a direct benefit to the students of the Fire Science Academy who have committed themselves to a potential career as a firefighter, and let us not forget, it is no small commitment they are making,” stated Commissioner Morrison.

Representing MVCC at the dedication ceremony were Dr. Sylvia Jenkins, President, Mr. Joseph Murphy, Chair, Board of Trustees and Mr. Andrew Hufnagl, Coordinator for the Fire Science and Emergency Medical Services Program. The MVCC Fire Science Academy is designed for students who wish to become eligible for initial fire department hiring lists.  The academy is approved by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

“I’m pleased to see that this occasion is very unique as it sends a message of commitment to education as well as an illustration of deep respect and honor for those individuals who dedicate and ultimately give their lives to serve and protect our communities. Daniel Capuano deserves this hero’s honor,” concluded Commissioner Morrison.

There is a long legacy of honoring our fallen firefighters by dedicating fire trucks and other emergency apparatuses’ in their memory.  Daniel Capuano was from the Palos/Orland Township community and members of his family still reside in our community to this day.  Additionally, prior to his service with the Chicago Fire Department he was a member of the Evergreen Park Fire Department. All of these communities share MVCC as their school for secondary education so it is only fitting that Daniel Capuano is honored in that tradition.

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