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Fairlawn city employees to receive 2.25 percent raises in 2013

12/6/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

During the Dec. 3 Fairlawn City Council meeting, Mayor William Roth announced the city has reached agreements with nearly all of the unions for the city’s employees regarding raises for 2013.

“I’m pleased to announce we have settlements with the full-time police, which is patrol; the full-time police sergeants; full-time fire; part-time fire; [and] service and dispatch, which is our communications specialists,” he said. “My understanding is that their units have already voted. The part-time police, because of logistics — the holidays and that — just haven’t been able to have a meeting to discuss the negotiations.”

Law Director Ed Riegler explained the city’s union employees are working under contracts that run through the end of next year, but each of the deals allows for wage re-openers, allowing the unions to renegotiate their salaries.

“We have five full-time labor unions, and all of their contracts were three-year contracts that don’t expire until December of 2013,” he said. “But for January through December of 2013, they have the wage re-opener, and that’s what we negotiated these last couple weeks. All five of them have agreed to a wage increase of 2.25 percent. So that’ll go into effect, upon passage of Council’s ordinances, on Jan. 1, 2013, for the entire year.”

Riegler characterized the negotiations as “very smooth.”

“All our unions are very agreeable,” he said. “They recognize the economics of the day, and they’ve all agreed to the wage agreement.”

In addition, Riegler said, there are two part-time unions — one for police officers and one for firefighters — and the contracts for both units were set to expire this year.

“They were three-year contracts as well, but their cycle is a year earlier than the full-time contracts,” he stated. “So with the police, we’re still negotiating, still in discussions. But with the fire, we reached an agreement for another three-year contract beginning Jan. 1, 2013, and ending Dec. 31, 2015. And there is a wage re-opener for the last two years of the contract. There is a 2.25 percent wage increase for them, as well, beginning in 2013.”

Council also gave a first reading to an ordinance “amending and/or supplementing the wage and salary plan of the city of Fairlawn.”

“That ordinance is to provide a 2.25 percent increase to all city employees who are not in a bargaining unit,” Riegler said.

Each of the ordinances related to the wage increases received a first reading during the Dec. 3 Council meeting and will be discussed further during Council’s upcoming committee meetings.

In other business:

• Council also heard the first reading of an ordinance “approving changes and modifications” to Fairlawn’s part-time employee handbook.

“We noticed when we went through the part-time handbook that we didn’t have a definition for ‘part time.’ What we’re doing is inserting in Section P-01, the definition of part time,” Riegler said.

If the ordinance is approved by Council, the definition of a part-time employee of the city would be someone who “works on average less than 30 hours per week per calendar year and who receives his or her paycheck directly from the city.”

• In addition, Council heard first readings of several ordinances that would eliminate the following jobs that no longer exist: part-time dog warden, part-time police clerks, part-time general secretary, part-time computer specialist and part-time record custodians.

“We’re dealing with references to part-time classifications in the various departments of the city,” Riegler said. “One of the things that you discover when you start going through the code in areas where you haven’t looked at lately is you find some positions that we haven’t filled in years.”

• A resolution authorizing the mayor to “prepare plans, specifications, cost estimates and obtain bids for the 2013 street repair program” was unanimously approved by Council.

“This year, I’m pleased to announce that we’re able to push up our road work to $1.9 million, almost $2 million,” Roth said. “We’re fortunate this year, based on funding, to be able to be a little more aggressive and catch up. If you recall, several years ago, due to the economy, we just couldn’t do any road program at all.”

According to the mayor, passage of the resolution allows city officials to go out to bid on several projects.

“When we get the bids back in the spring, the engineer will have to tabulate them and make the determination of what the costs are, and we’ll bring them back to Council,” he stated. “None of this will be done with assessing any of the residents. This will be borne by the city, and we pay cash for it. We will not incur any debt.”

• Council unanimously agreed to donate a Will-Burt roof-mounted mast and light tower to the city of Streetsboro.

Fairlawn Fire Chief Russ Hose said the item was a “piece of surplus fire equipment” that the Streetsboro Fire Department had been trying to locate.

“It’s really of no value to us,” he said. “It’s been sitting in storage in the service department for at least seven or eight years.”

Streetsboro Fire Chief Robert Reinholz attended the meeting to thank the city for the item.

• The appointment of Nicole Hakim to the Fairlawn’s City Records Commission for a term set to expire March 3, 2013, was unanimously approved by Council.

• Fairlawn Police Chief Kenneth Walsh said Black Friday “went well” in the city.

“In fact, the whole weekend went really well,” he said. “The officers did a fine job.”

The next Fairlawn City Council meeting is set to take place Dec. 17 at 6:30 p.m. at Fairlawn City Hall, 3487 S. Smith Road. The next Committee-of-the-Whole meeting is scheduled for Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. in City Hall.

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