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Contracts for numerous Fairlawn city employees set to expire

9/19/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

Fairlawn Law Director Ed Riegler said Sept. 16 that city officials soon will enter into negotiations with the unions representing various city employees in an effort to reach new contracts.

“We have received letters to negotiate from all of the unions, so our next step is to sit down and begin negotiating,” he said. “We have five full-time units that have representation — the police patrol, the police sergeants, the full-time fire, the communications specialists and the service department employees — and the contracts for all five of those units will expire at the end of the year. So between Sept. 1 and Sept. 30, they are to file what’s known as a notice to negotiate, and all five units did that.”

According to Riegler, the city will start meeting with the bargaining units “sometime within the next two to three weeks.”

“We’ll meet with each group separately, not as a joint meeting, and try to parallel the negotiations between all five at the same time frame,” he said. “Hopefully, we will be able to work out another three-year contract with each unit.”

Riegler said he doesn’t expect any major problems in negotiating the new deals.

“We’ve always had very good relationships with our bargaining units, and we anticipate the same cooperation from them that they expect from us,” he said. “I would anticipate the major issues will be wages and health insurance — the cost of health insurance and employee contributions toward that cost.”

By law, the deadline to negotiate new deals is Dec. 31, but Riegler said extensions can be granted “while you’re in the negotiation process to complete it after the first of the year.”

In addition, the city’s part-time police and fire units have three-year contracts that run through the end of 2014, but those contracts call for the city and the unions to discuss new wages for next year, Riegler said.

“We have wage openers for the part-time police and the part-time fire units,” the law director stated. “We will be negotiating with them for their wages for 2014.”

In other business during the Sept. 16 Fairlawn City Council meeting, no new legislation was introduced and no existing legislation was passed.

“This doesn’t happen very often,” said Council President Russ Sharnsky (at large).

The only item on the agenda was an ordinance “authorizing various appropriations.” That item received a second reading before Council but was not discussed in detail.

In other news:

  • City Engineer Nick Spagnuolo told Council that Tri Mor Corp. will install concrete curb and gutter on Smith Road this week.
    Deputy Service Director Ernie Staten previously described the work as “a small curb and gutter job with storm sewer” from Owasso Avenue to Lake of the Woods Boulevard.” Tri Mor won the job in June with a $174,080 bid.
  • Staten said work has begun on the Croghan Park project.
    “The bridge is officially down, and they will start with abutments later this week,” he stated.
    A replacement bridge is expected to be constructed in the spring, according to Staten.
  • Parks and Recreation Director Laurie Beisecker said her department’s fall/winter program guide is “currently being printed.”
    “It will be delivered to all Fairlawn homes as an insert in the West Side Leader either in late September or early October,” she said.
  • Mayor William Roth and Council Vice President Bryan Nace (Ward 3) were both absent from the Sept. 16 Council meeting. The two city officials were in the process of arriving home from a trip to China, where they had been speaking with Chinese business officials regarding potential investments in Northeast Ohio.

The next Fairlawn City Council meeting is set for Oct. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at Fairlawn City Hall, 3487 S. Smith Road. The next Committee-of-the-Whole meeting is scheduled for Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. in City Hall.

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