Chairman John Jacoby called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.
Members present: Brian Fabes, Therese Steinken, Beth Lambrecht, John Jacoby, John Haser, Laura Saleh Absent: George Rafeedie Staff Present: Michael Braiman and John Prejzner
After approval of the last meeting’s minutes, Chairman Jacoby opened by noting the letter sent by the League of Women Voters. He asked League President Allyson Haut, to address the group. Allyson said that the letter related to the overall timing of the committee’s work. Based on earlier comments from the Working group and Finance Committee that ideal timing would be to complete this work prior to the next step-up in minimum wage on July 1, the League is encouraging the working group to adhere to a timeline that allows their report adequate time for completion and delivery to the Finance Committee and subsequently to the Village Trustees in advance of that date. She also suggested that there is utility in the working group having a joint meeting with the Finance Committee to present a draft report and give the committee adequate time to ask for clarifications.
Mike Braiman discussed the working group timeline provided in the evening’s agenda. At the next meeting on March 19th the working group will hear a presentation from Women Employed and review data from the Cook County Commission on Human Rights, Employee and Employer Demographics, and from local clergy. Village Staff will also present data from communities bordering Wilmette that have not opted out of the ordinances. They will also begin formulating the resident survey which will go out in early to mid-April following school breaks. At the April 9 meeting, the working group will review results from the business survey. Approximately 220 businesses have completed the survey to date. The resident survey results will be presented at the last scheduled meeting of the group on April 30.
Mr. Braiman also announced that he and Chairman Jacoby will meet with members of the finance committee at 6:30 on March 19, prior to the working group’s next meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to present the questions the working group has formulated to ensure they are on the right track. Mr. Braiman will also report working group status to the Village Board in April. Additionally, he is working to schedule a meeting of the Village Board’s Committee of the Whole in May to present the working group’s final report.
RESIDENTS ARE ENCOURAGED TO CONTACT THE WORKING GROUP WITH SUGGESTED QUESTIONS FOR THE RESIDENT SURVEY
REVIEW OF MINIMUM WAGE QUESTIONS TO ANSWER AND STUDIES TO INCLUDE
The majority of the meeting was spent discussing six questions to answer regarding minimum wage, why the questions matter and studies under consideration to answer them.
The group considered including “Where Workers Work” a 2017 study from the Illinois Department of Employment Security. It was agreed that this study should not be included, and the question should instead be answered by more specific data requested from IDES as well as by the survey of Wilmette business owners.
2. What businesses would be impacted by a change in the minimum wage?
Why does this matter? To understand the businesses that will be impacted by the change in minimum wage. The Village has approximately 560 licensed businesses and some sectors tend to have more and some fewer minimum wage workers. The Cook County Ordinance exempts businesses with less than 4 employees, employees under the age of 18, employees working less than 90 days, and has different pay regulations for tipped employees. Understanding the businesses impacted by the Ordinance will help answer Question #5 below (what are the impacts to Wilmette businesses).
Mike Braiman reported that the Village’s Business Development Coordinator will present Wilmette-specific business demographics at the March 19 meeting. The working group’s survey of Wilmette businesses will also help to answer this question.
3.What is the cost of living in Wilmette and other places where Wilmette's low-wage workers live vs. other regions of the State? What constitutes a “living wage” (in terms of hourly rate equivalent) for workers living in Cook County? How do the current proposed minimum wage rates compare to the generally accepted “living wage” in Cook County?
Why does this matter? The rationale for a higher minimum wage is that those who work full-time and depend on work to support their families should not, because of a low wage rate, be forced to live in poverty or rely on public assistance; i.e., they should earn a “living wage.” The primary rationale for a minimum wage that is different in one region of a state vs. another is that the cost of living (and hence what defines a “living wage”) can differ by region.
The group discussed including the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s “Out of Reach 2017 - The High Cost of Housing (2017). It was noted that this study may not be as relevant as information to be presented at the March 19 meeting from the U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Economic Analysis and the MIT Living/Minimum Subsistence Wage Calculator.
A member of the public commented that data on wage sectors in Cook County versus the rest of Illinois may be available from the University of Illinois. Ms. Steinken noted that data from the National Employment Law Project could also be helpful in answering this question, and it was agreed to consider that information after hearing the other presentations noted above. Finally, Mr. Haser asked if the committee is charged with studying living wage or minimum wage, stating that the minimum wage ordinance is his understanding of the working group’s focus. The committee discussed that a factor in determining a fair minimum wage is understanding the financial situation of the workers. Further discussion will take place following the living wage presentation at the meeting on March 19.
4. What is the impact of increasing the minimum wage on employees in Wilmette?
Why does this matter? The primary rationale for raising the minimum wage for employees is that it will increase the opportunity for work to serve as a path out of poverty and allow those who work to support the basic needs of themselves and their families. A concern with raising the minimum wage for employees could be that some low wage jobs may be lost or the hours of work of some employees may be reduced.
Jeff Axelrod, a member of the community expressed concern about stating “some jobs may be lost.” He said that he is concerned that this language could be perceived as biased. Mr. Braiman explained that the goal in the “why it matters” section of each question is to avoid bias by presenting both sides of the question. It was suggested that the language “could be impacted” might be more neutral than “loss,” but Mr. Braiman felt it was important to present both the positive and the negative view to the trustees.
Another community member, Jon Marshall, suggested including another positive impact in the “why it matters” section as he detailed in a letter to the working group. He suggested stating that raising minimum wage gives workers more money to spend, providing a boost to the economy. The working group agreed that this statement was more relevant to Question 6 - “what is the impact on the community.”
Next, Chairman Jacoby invited Mr. Marshall to share a framework he had proposed for prioritizing the studies under consideration to include in the report. Mr. Marshall noted that he is on the faculty at Northwestern and proposed an academic approach:
Mr. Marshall also noted that some of the studies under consideration are meta-studies that consider a body of prior work versus studies that offer findings from one academic or group of academics. He suggested prioritizing meta-studies, with the highest priority on meta-studies that are peer reviewed.
Another community member, Gina Kennedy, had additional comments about the studies under consideration. She encouraged the working group to consider the source of each study and whether the publication had any ideological perspective.
Working group member Brian Fabes suggested that the committee select studies with the least bias vs. studies that support a particular conclusion.
With the community’s feedback, the working group determined that the following would be included:
The working group elected NOT to include the other three proposed studies:
Mr. Braiman noted that Village Staff will be working to determine whether there are relevant minimum wage studies which address border impacts of wage and hour laws.
Any information they find will be reviewed at the next meetings. The group then discussed recommended studies to answer this question. The group agreed not to include two studies previously removed from Question 4 from the National Employment Law Project and from Schmitt. There was significant discussion of a study by Luca and Luca - “Survival of the Fittest: The Impact of the Minimum Wage on Firm Exit,” (2017) . Although there were some concerns about the methodology of the study, the group decided to include it because it is the only study found that attempts to address the impact of minimum wage upon business viability. Brian Fabes cautioned the group to consider that there may not be other studies because there are no other researchers who have reached the conclusions in this study.
6. What is the impact of increasing the minimum wage on Wilmette as a community?
Why does this matter? There are a number of possible impacts to the community of raising or not raising the minimum wage which may include but are not limited to the following: 1) Raising the minimum wage might lead to increased prices for goods and services and uncertainty whether customers will continue to patronize businesses; 2) Not raising the minimum wage might diminish the perception of Wilmette as a thriving community that values the welfare of its workers; 3) Raising the minimum wage might diminish the perception of Wilmette as an economically attractive place to do business and might present an obstacle to the Village’s future economic development efforts and ability to recruit new businesses; 4) Raising the minimum wage would be consistent with the outcome of the 2014 statewide advisory referendum in Wilmette, although the minimum wage rate presented in that referendum ($10 per hour effective January 1, 2015 on a statewide basis) is different from the minimum wage rates contained in the County's minimum wage ordinance (new data regarding residents' opinion of an increased minimum wage will be provided via a phone survey).
Jon Marshall asked the group to consider including his previous suggestion about a positive economic impact of raising the minimum wage and giving workers more money to spend. He will send the group a study that supports this claim. The group then reviewed the other sources of data they can use in answering this question. (1) the resident phone survey, (2) the business survey, (3) conversations with local clergy, (4) brokers/landlords, and (5) businesses in surrounding North Shore communities. This question is specific to Wilmette and cannot be answered by peer reviewed studies.
Trustee Joel Kurzman, who was part of the audience, asked the working group to consider studying how people outside Wilmette - especially prospective home buyers - might perceive communities that opt-out of the ordinances. He suggested that there may be data from political polling about how residents choose the communities where they live. Chairman Jacoby said that surveying Wilmette residents about their values for the community will answer those questions.
With no other comments from the group or the public the meeting was adjourned. The remaining working group meetings are: March 19, April 9 and April 30.
Mallinckrodt Community Center (Wood Floor Room)
Meeting started at 7:05 p.m. and ended at 8:51 p.m. (1 hour, 46 minutes)
Present: John Jacoby, Michael Braioman, John Prenzer, Laura Saleh, Therese Steinken, John Haser. Brian Fabes arrived at 7:06. George Rafeedie and Beth Lambrecht were absent. It was a very snowy night.
The village invited Adam Kader from Arise Chicago, an employee advocacy group, to provide insight into the effectiveness of surveying employees. He expressed concerns about the village doing so. All in the group besides Mr. Haser decided not to survey employees because concerns about low-wage employee intimidation leading to employer-biased results outweighed the benefit of making employees in Wilmette feel that their voices are heard. The group felt that existing studies and data from IDES and other sources would be preferable to an unscientific small-scale survey.
The first part of the meeting was to decide whether or not the working group should survey employees. Chairman John Jacoby invited Adam Kader from Arise Chicago was invited to sit at the table with the working group and to speak first. Mr. Kader had previously spoken with Assistant Village Manager Mike Braiman by phone and provided the working group with studies and other guidance.
Mr. Kader explained that Arise Chicago has been around since 1991 and represents low-wage workers typically resulting from employer legal violations and coordinantes a network of supportive interfaith organizations. He said that Arise has participated in a number of research projects including with universities.
He stated that surveys are only useful if scientifically conducted and with a sufficient sample size, and that employees are typically hard to reach. He explained that Arise Chicago has been able to get information from employees because they have had a long relationship of advocating for them and have established their trust. They had also ensured that study participants were compensated for their time.
Mr. Kader further added that the risks for an employee to participate included the undeniable asymmetrical power relationship between employers and employees. An employer has nothing to lose by participating, but the employee has everything to lose, and this threat, whether real or perceived is the primary consideration of employees. He suggested that a poorly executed survey could be damaging or distort the views of the most vulnerable workforce.
He went on to suggest that any effort to understand workers that had integrity would pay attention to the existing body of comprehensive research. He suggested we could easily extrapolate based on Wilmette’s data the village has collected, subscription services, and data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.) Chair Jacoby interjected with a laugh that Mr. Kader’s suggestion that the village be a source is overestimated.
Mr. Braiman asked which industries are key to understanding low wage workers. Arise offered service industries more than production or professional and that the Kaiser Family Foundation offers relevant publicly available data.
Mr. Kader said Arise advocated primarily for sick leave policy in Chicago because most of the benefits are beneficial for both employers and employees.
Resident Gail Szulc asked if the ordinances would be applied to every business, for example landscapers, maids, and babysitters. Chair Jacoby went over the basics of each county ordinance. Mr. Kader added that an employer employee relationship must exist for the ordinances to apply, and that an independent contractor, for example a babysitter, is not an employee, but that a domestic worker is an employee.
Resident Dennis Arouca wanted to know if the residences of people working in Wilmette is going to be collected. Mr. Fabes answered that IDES data shows that lower wage workers typically come from outside Wilmette to work in the village and that higher wage workers residing in Wilmette leave to work outside the village.
Resident Dr. Diana Hackbarth wanted to know if low-wage workers testified in Chicago during the ordinances’ passage. Mr. Kader answered that there were testimonies and that 100% were without sick days. She posited that workers in Chicago would be similar enough to Wilmette and that it might be better to use existing interviews.
Chair Jacoby wondered why Wilmette workers would be intimidated if Chicago ones were not. Adam reminded him that they already had established relationships and added that it should already be self-evident that workers support sick leave and higher pay.
Mr. Fabes asked Mr. Kader if there are downsides to performing a survey of employees.
Mr. Kader responded with a story when an employer asserted that they employed no minimum-wage workers, but that the Chicago Tribune had investigated and found several. He said he was really concerned about the danger to employees.
Mr. Fabes wanted to avoid posing speculative questions to employees, such as how they are impacted by low wages. Mr. Kader responded that it is already obvious how they would be affected.
Ms. Steinken asked if they could keep the survey basic and to one page, and if there was something they could ask that couldn’t come from other sources.
Mr. Kader suggested asking how workers would use the extra money. Would they spend it locally? He explained that service workers tend to spend more when they have more disposable income.
Mr. Fabes said that these were speculative questions.
Resident Joan Lasonde asked how many employees we are talking about. Mr. Fabes said about 1,000. Ms. Lasonde suggested we survey the employers, and Chair Jacoby explained that the working group has been discussing during the meeting whether or not to continue with the employee survey in particular, and that the decisions to survey employers had already been made along with surveying residents, other communities, and so forth. Ms. Lasonde responded that it was a good point that to be fair, if we’re going to survey the employees, we should also survey the business owners. Chair Jacoby reiterated that the village is surveying the employers and that it was the employee survey that was being discussed.
Mr. Fabes added that the surveying of employees was being discussed was that it was suggested during the prior meeting that to be fair to employees, they should be surveyed if employers were surveyed. And that the working group is now hearing from a labor advocate that surveying them may do more harm than good, and that we should instead look at existing research. Mr. Kader added that the risks and benefits for participation are drastically different for employers and employees.
Resident Jeannie Kennedy expressed strong concern about asking employees very personal questions about their finances that we would never consider asking employers. She said it affords employees less respect than employers.
Chair Jacoby suggested turning around Ms. Kennedy’s concern, that maybe employers’ profit margins is material information that shouldn’t be overlooked. Ms. Kennedy suggested employers probably wouldn’t respond to such questions. Chair Jacoby responded that employees may not. Ms. Kennedy concluded: “then why ask the questions?”
Mr. Fabes said that after checking, there are about 1,300 low-wage workers in Wilmette. Ms. Lasonde asked about their demographics. Mr. Fabes said that most are not youth, the vast majority are adult age. Chair Jacoby concurred. Mr. Kader added that there is a common misperception of teens being the primary minimum wage earners, which may have been the case when some of us were younger, but in 2018 it’s primarily adults.
He added that the highest job growth is in minimum wage jobs in the service industry. He added that there is a lot of research to show that these wages are no longer a stepping stone to higher earnings, and that 33 is the median age of a minimum-wage worker. Mr. Kader said that some of their dishwashers have been working at minimum wage for 20 years.
Dr. Hackbarth expressed concern about an employer handing their employee a survey. Mr. Kader said that the only way to reach employees is to approach them, that it is very difficult to find workers, and that posting a survey online doesn’t give a control group.
Chair Jacoby recognized the lack of scientific validity, and that we should assume employers and employees will be honest. He proposed employers post a notice to visit a survey website, but later agreed with Mr. Kader that this may prove difficult for low-wage workers.
Ms. Lasonde asked given that there are 1,300 low-wage employees, how many employers there are in Wilmette. Mr. Braiman answered about 565 employers, and about 6,500 total workers.
Mr. Braiman suggested there should be a clear purpose to the survey and asked Mr. Kader what that might be.
Mr. Kader answered that perhaps personal stories might provide a useful narrative about what the policies would mean to them. Otherwise, existing studies would be sufficient.
Chair Jacoby said that there is value in making employees feel they’ve been heard.
Mr. Arouca asked if Wilmette doesn’t adopt the minimum wage increase and neighboring communities do, how will it impact the quality of workers that come to Wilmette?
Mr. Kader said that the opt-out initiative puts citizens in a very unfortunate position to have to decide on the wages of 1,300 employees, when wages shouldn’t be set at the municipal level in the first place, that it is appropriately performed at the county level.
Chair Jacoby said that over time either the employers raise wages, or employees will migrate to higher-paying neighbors.
Laura Saleh said she’d like to be the devil’s advocate as a small-business owner. She said that some of the people she employed don’t get a full sick leave policy. She added that those people are stay at home moms who are looking to do something and are working a day or two a week. She said that they don’t need the sick time. She continued, saying that they are financially secure enough to not be paid the four-week sick pay period per year, or whatever it is. She added that in speaking to other business owners, she thinks there is a fair contingency of those people in Wilmette. She said these people aren’t looking to be paid what they, they’re looking for enrichment, socializing, extra money in their pocket, but not looking to get rich.
Chair Jacoby responded by asking her where that leads her on whether or not to conduct an employee survey. Ms. Saleh responded that if we’re going to do it, we should consider those people, and not eliminate all those questions that don’t give you the true answer. She added, “The difference between a 42-year-old who has three children and can’t make ends meet versus a 42-year-old here who is doing it, yes, for some money. Let’s face it, we all work for some money, or we would volunteer.”
Resident Dave Krias [sic] said that if most businesses are restaurants, employees are not working from home. He said that when companies are operating on a thin margin, is that the employees’ fault or the business owners’ fault? Maybe the rent is too high or there are other factors?
Mr. Kader pointed out that sick days are earned incrementally based on the number of hours they work, so infrequent workers will not earn much sick time.
Ms. Saleh responded that some people work for her for ten years and that it’s a lot of calculations to be doing for someone.
Mr. Fabes said there are two reasons to survey employees: in order to appear fair and in order to make employees feel heard.
Ms. Lasonde asked how much the survey would cost. Chair Jacoby said it’s not a big number, that it was proposed to give surveys to employers and post online.
Ms. Steinken suggested having an open forum and invite any employees who would like to come to get their opinions anonymously along with interpreters.
Dr. Hackbarth said that in order to get unbiased data, this would have to be a focus group performed by a research firm so that it could be done in a safe place and that the participants would need to be paid. She said that during Wilmette’s introduction of a smoking ban, some people were pushed by their employers to oppose it, and that few employees were comfortable stepping forward publicly but would acknowledge their support privately.
Mr. Braiman said that a focus group would be possible, the village has performed them in the past for other issues, and it costs about $8,000 including a transcript.
Mr. Arouca said there are state agencies that conduct elections in workplaces, and we could ask them for advice.
Chair Jacoby said the group needs to decide whether to perform the employee survey, drop it, or do something intermediate and expressed his initial support for an intermediate solution. He wanted to know if the group were pushed into intermediate position, what kind of employee study would be performed.
Mr. Fabes asked what are we hoping to get that IDES won’t already give us?
Chair Jacoby said there were two possibilities: testimonials, real-life Wilmette employees telling their story as well as demographic data. Mr. Haser added the survey would make employees feel included. He said that the group would be assuming that both employees and employers will be cheating, and that no matter what, it isn’t going to be a true scientific study. Chair Jacoby concurred.
Mr. Fabes suggested we collect already available data and determine what is missing. He suggested asking employees how they would prefer to be heard. He expressed concern about conducting an unscientific survey and then extrapolating from it.
Mr. Kader said he thinks it would be a waste of time.
Chair Jacoby then said he now thinks the employee survey should be dropped, Ms Steinken concurred that it is impractical, but wished employees would be able to have a voice. Chair Jacoby said that Chicago employee testimonies should be examined, especially given that most employees don’t live in Wilmette.
All members voted to drop the employee survey except for Mr. Haser.
Mr. Braiman said that determining questions for and surveying of residents will happen in late March or early April and that it will be a random sampling of 300 Wilmette residents. He said the employer survey will begin this week including an online link, and that the mailed surveys should be sent the following week.
Chair Jacoby directed the discussion to which sick-day studies to recommend that the board consider.
Mr. Fabes said that they should figure out the main questions that should be answered for the trustees. 1. Who are the workers? 2. What is the cost of providing paid sick leave? 3. What is the increase in cost to employers if employees cheat by taking sick days when healthy? 4. What is the cost of administering? 5. What is the benefit to general public? 6. What is the benefit to employees?
Ms. Steinken wanted to ask about the benefits to employers. Chair Jacoby concurred, but Mr. Haser said he wasn’t sure. Chair Jacoby said it will be included for now.
Dr. Hackbarth said that there definitely should be a question about the benefits to employers because there is existing data to demonstrate this. She added that question five is instrumental to ask what it means to who we are as people to say we buy into treating people of all socioeconomic statuses equitably.
Chair Jacoby suggested this would be answered by the resident survey. Mr. Haser said that questions five and six would be fairer if you the questions were worded to ask about the benefit and/or disadvantage. The group decided to change the word “advantage” to “impact” without objection.
Next the group decided to try to match the studies to the questions. Printed information wasn’t available for the public to follow along and were directed to pull up the electronic PDFs if possible. Chair Jacoby asked the group to describe the materials for those who didn’t have access to the information.
Mr. Fabes proceeded to lead discussion to match available sick-leave studies up to each of the questions. Mr. Braiman added at one point that he wanted to avoid fact sheets because they’re created by advocacy groups and that they should stick to studies. Everyone concurred.
Ms. Steinken asked if there were studies that showed negative benefits. Mr. Fabes said that type of data is found in minimum wage studies, Chair Jacoby concurred and added that it’s because the cost of sick leave is between under 1% to 1.5%. Mr. Fabes suggested that this is because minimum wage increases the cost of labor more significantly.
Chair Jacoby suggested omitting studies because they was old, but Mr. Fabes countered that it’s about how people get sick, which hasn’t changed. They agreed to remove two studies for the sake of minimizing the amount of material submitted to the trustees and to revisit them later.
Ms. Saleh suggested one study was too long. Mr. Fabes suggested providing only the abstract and the group concurred.
There was a consensus to provide studies numbered 1,2, 3 (abstract only,) 4, and 5.
Mr. Braiman said that the village had a professional review the survey, who said that the surveys were very well done and had little feedback. He also said that “Smart Q” also looked at it, a data research firm. They both recommended using ranges for questions about age, income, etc. to increase response rate. There was also a suggestion when asking for numbers of employees paid under a certain rate that there be a separate question for tipped employees. Mr. Braiman said the village would make those suggested changes to the survey.
Mr. Braiman said that March 5th is the next meeting, which will be to go through the minimum-wage studies. He said that at the next meeting, the group would look at the questions on minimum wage to see if questions needed to be added or existing ones changed. And similar to this meeting, they will find which studies apply to each question. The meeting will be continued to March 19th if needed.
They will also discuss and present living wage and employment data to put into the final report. He said a resident suggested they look at the Cook County Commission on Human Rights data to see how many complaints they have received, which they will obtain from the county via a FOIA request.
Then once all of this information is obtained, it will be used to frame the questions for the resident feedback survey. He said if the village conducts a phone survey, it can be done very quickly. That would keep them on schedule to get this before the board by May or June, so they can review the material and make a decision before the next scheduled minimum wage increase on July 1st. He added that they should also ask for feedback from the finance committee to make sure the working group is on the right track before publishing a final report.
Chair Jacoby thanked tax attorney Janus [sic?]/Gina Kennedy [sic?] memorandum on tax law and the meeting was adjourned at 8:51 p.m.
Present: Working group members George Rafeedie (President and Founder, CoWorkers LLC ), Therese Steinken (Former Director of Development, Family Service Center), John Haser (Director of Administration and Marketing, Anne Kustner Lighting Design), Beth Lambrecht (owner, Lambrecht Jewelers), John Jacoby (Chair, Former Village President), Laura Saleh (medical practice owner and Chamber of Commerce director), Brian Fabes (CEO, Civic Consulting Alliance) Village staff: Michael Braiman (Assistant Village Manager) And John Prejzner (Assistant Director of Administrative Services)
I. The meeting was call to order shortly after 7:00 p.m. Members of the group introduced themselves and stated why they volunteered: Chairman Jacoby said he was selected as a former Village President. Four members are owners or employees of local businesses; with two stating they represent the business community. One member offers professional experience consulting with municipalities and the other has been actively involved in local government issues for many years including extensive work on League of Women Voters’ studies. In addition, two village staff are members of the group.
Chairman Jacoby then stated the group’s purpose: to study how Cook County minimum wage and earned sick time ordinances might affect village businesses, employers and their employees, and the village's overall economy. Further, the committee is only charged with providing information to the Finance Committee, not making a recommendation. The initial goal is to conduct the work in three meetings. This timeline allows the finance committee to expeditiously provide information for the trustees further consideration of the ordinances prior to the next annual minimum wage increase mandated for communities enacting them. He reminded group members to set aside their personal views on the ordinances during their work.
II. Six community members spoke during the Public Comment period.
● The group was encouraged to consider: (1) Information sources beyond those listed in the meeting packet including sick leave data from the public health community, businesses license and sales tax data from neighboring communities, data from agencies representing struggling residents such as the township, and academic experts. (2) Data collection methodologies including the reliability of phone surveys, relevant (vs. determinant) national studies, and avoiding questions that ask respondents to speculate about the future. (3) Not only public health, but public safety issues related to sick leave such as a school bus driver who transports children while sick, and (4) Savings businesses may realize under the new federal tax law. Chairman Jacoby asked a commenter, who is a tax attorney, to provide the group with more information about businesses under the new tax code.
● Two residents expressed concern about the opt-out being reversed: Businesses could be hurt by employees pretending to be sick to take advantage of leave and the burden of paperwork. Businesses should be able to determine wages based on merit not the minimum wage laws.
III. Chairman Jacoby reviewed the public meetings act. No more than two working group members can discuss official business without a quorum. Village policy is to avoid email discussion of official business.
IV. The group then moved to discussing potential information to collect for the finance committee’s review. Audience members were able to comment and ask questions. Discussion centered around how to represent different types of businesses, what information the Village collects about businesses, what demographic data about minimum wage workers should be collected, and how business data from other communities might be translated to Wilmette. Village staff members expressed concern about using research or studies conducted nationally or by other communities because of potential bias, conflicting results and differences form the Wilmette business environment. For these reasons, local surveys are an important measure of the ordinance’s impact. Audience members reminded the group that because the ordinances were not enacted in Wilmette, there are no quantitative measures of the impact on village constituencies. Local surveys can therefore only collect speculative and anecdotal information. Some members of the working group, as well as some audience members, pointed out that there are ways for non-local studies and quantitative data from other communities can be effectively used to inform local decisions.
At the end of the discussion, the group concluded that they need to further consider what questions should be asked to guide decision making about sources of information. Because the discussion largely covered minimum wage, sick leave will be considered at the next meeting.
V. Chairman Jacoby identified the following action items:
a. Group members will submit to the Assistant Village Manager a list of questions that they think the working group should try to answer. The community is also invited to submit questions.
b. Village staff will compile the list of the questions for consideration at the next meeting.
c. At the next meeting, the group will redevelop/finalize the information sources based on the above list of questions. The Village has engaged a market research consultant to ensure that any survey questions are correctly phrased without bias. Village staff hope to have the group work with the research consultant to being phrasing questions at the next meeting.