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Sheriff’s deputies to receive raises

4/10/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Summit County Council members chose not to act on a resolution regarding a fact-finder’s report on a collective bargaining agreement with sheriff’s deputies during a special meeting April 7, which means the deputies will receive recommended pay increases over a three-year period.

The report was submitted to the county March 31. During the special meeting, Council went into executive session to discuss the report, which recommended deputies receive raises of 1.5 percent for 2014, 2 percent for 2015 and 2.25 percent for 2016, as well as not removing a cap on health care costs. Also included in the report was a recommendation on the transferring of employees to fill temporary vacancies. Following the executive session, Council took no action and there was no public discussion on the report.

Council had three choices in regards to how it proceeded, according to Law Director Deborah Matz. Council could have accepted the fact-finder’s report by voting to adopt the resolution, which would mean the recommendations would be in effect upon the signatures of Council’s president and County Executive Russ Pry; voted against the resolution, which would mean the next step would be conciliation; or not take any action at all, which means the report’s recommendations would be in effect 30 days after the resolution was signed. The latter is the course that was taken.

Inspector Bill Holland, of the Sheriff’s Office, said the office would move forward with the recommendations as stated in the report.

“We’re going to proceed with what’s in the contract, and it will be retroactive to the beginning of the year,” he said.

According to the report, the Fraternal Order of Police, Ohio Labor Council — the union representing the deputies — stated that deputies had not received pay increases in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, the county requested a 2 percent wage decrease of the union, but a fact finder then recommended a 1.5 percent raise, which was accepted by both parties. The union requested raises of 3 percent for 2014 and 2015 and 4 percent for 2016, asserting that the county at this time could afford additional annual wage increases.

County officials, according to the report, said declining revenues made providing the requested increases difficult. Officials also pointed to the county’s need to rely on reserve funds in recent years to balance its budget.

The report stated that 282 deputies are currently members of the union.

Also Monday, Council conducted committee meetings following the special meeting. In the Planning and Economic Development Committee meeting, members recommended Council adopt a resolution to award a construction contract to Dynamic Sports Corp. to replace flooring in the gymnasium at the Juvenile Detention Center at a cost of $37,544.

Brian Clark, of the Physical Plant, said the contract was less expensive than expected because the company proposed putting the new flooring over the old floor. In addition, the project will allow for the gym to be used for volleyball and basketball, Clark said.

The committee also heard from three citizens, including two Sagamore Hills Township trustees, who stated their opposition to the county providing funds for Vibrant NEO, a Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium that has a regional plan to address growth and sustainability of area communities.

Peggy Reed, of South Arlington Road, said she is working with the group Ohio Citizens for Property Rights to oppose the proposed plan, which she said could lead to the loss of local control and property rights.

During the Finance Committee meeting, members recommended Council adopt a resolution confirming a contract with Miller’s Presort for presort mail service for a five-year period.

According to Brain Nelsen, director of Finance and Budget, the new contract will see a savings because the county’s mail will be processed at a per-piece price that is several cents less than the current U.S. Postal Service fees.

Council also heard during the evening from Steve Zimmerman, assistant director of administration and finance for the Department of Job and Family Services, about legislation that Council would be asked to approve on first reading at their next meeting.

He said the county is expecting to receive about $1.5 million in state funding for its summer youth employment program, about $93,000 less than last year, which will allow the program to serve about 1,030 youths. Registration for the program has begun. [For more on that, see “County’s summer youth jobs program in works” in the March 28 edition or in the archives at www.akron.com.]

County Council will next meet April 14 at 4:30 p.m. for caucus, followed by a regular meeting in Council Chambers on the seventh floor of the Ohio Building, 175 S. Main St. in Downtown Akron.

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