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Fairlawn city officials complete contract deals with employees

5/22/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

The city of Fairlawn has completed negotiations regarding contracts through 2016 for all full-time employees and through 2015 for all part-time employees.

“All the labor agreements basically are settled,” said Fairlawn Mayor William Roth during the May 19 Fairlawn City Council meeting.

The final employees to get a new deal were Fairlawn’s communications specialists (also known as dispatchers). Representatives for those employees and city officials met with fact finder Joseph Gardner April 18 to reach common ground and Gardner released his findings May 14.

“By state law, [Council] has seven days from receipt of the report to vote it up, vote it down or do nothing. If they choose to do nothing, the report will take effect,” Roth said. “What happened tonight is that Council decided not to act on legislation, which I agree with, and at midnight tomorrow night [May 21], the fact-finder’s report will take effect.”

The mayor said going to a fact finder with the communications specialists was “just part of the labor process.”

“There was no animosity,” he said. “It just came down to wages and insurance, so we went to mediation on that. Periodically, you have that.”

According to Roth, the city has agreed to 2 percent raises in 2014 and again in 2015 for the city’s full- and part-time police, fire, EMS, service and nonunion employees. There is a wage re-opener in 2016 for the full-time employees, when the issue of salaries will be re-addressed.

As per the fact-finder’s judgment, the communications specialists will receive 3.5 percent increases this year and again in 2015, with a wage re-opener in 2016.

Also during the May 19 meeting:

  • Council unanimously approved resolutions “reaffirming, amending and/or restating” Fairlawn’s retirement contribution pick-up plan for city employees who participate in the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund.
    “This is because [the Ohio Police and Fire pension system] has made changes to the pension plan over the last couple of years,” explained Patricia Bertsch, Fairlawn’s assistant finance director. “They have step increases for the police and fire on their contributions. They started at 10 percent and they’re moving them up every year for three years, and next year is the last year.”
    Bertsch said the employees currently pay 10.75 percent of their salary to the pension board, with that number increasing to 11.5 percent this year starting July 1, and then to 12.25 in the final year.
    According to Bertsch, passage of the resolution presents “no real change to the city at all.”
    “The employee contribution is going up, not the city’s,” Roth added.
  • Council unanimously approved an ordinance authorizing the mayor to enter into a road and traffic signal maintenance cooperation agreement with Summit County.
    “We have some roads that are both in the city and also in a township — Bath Township or Copley Township — and what happens is that the county engineer has to maintain those roads,” Roth said. “We have agreements to maintain certain sections of an entire road, even if, say, part of the road is in Copley, and also vice versa. This ordinance is just an updating of that agreement.”
  • Deputy Service Director Ernie Staten said the new bridge has been installed at Croghan Park.
    “But we’re still not allowing anybody to walk on it,” he said. “[Application of] the asphalt will start sometime next week and the rain garden will also start sometime next week.”
  • According to City Engineer Nick Spagnuolo, the recent rain in Fairlawn has caused “a little bit of a delay” in the city’s annual road repair program.
    “They haven’t been able to do much with all that rain, but they’ll get back on track,” he stated.
    On May 12 alone, Staten added, Fairlawn was hit with 3.92 inches of rain during a 40-minute period.
  • Fairlawn’s Memorial Day service will take place at Bicentennial Park May 26 at 9 a.m., Roth said.
    “Our veterans’ group is organizing the service and we are obviously all invited,” the mayor said. “We take that time to honor the veterans we have who served in the Armed Forces, but also in police and fire.”
  • Council unanimously approved a resolution confirming the appointment of Stephen Brustoski to Fairlawn’s Environmental Services Commission for an unexpired term ending Dec. 31, 2017.
    “Stephen has always expressed an interest in serving on this board,” Roth said. “His background is in engineering and building, so he can be a good addition to fill the unexpired term.”
    Brustoski replaces Mike Pitcher, who served on the board for over 20 years, the mayor noted.

The next Council meeting will be June 2 at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall, 3487 S. Smith Road. The next Committee-of-the-Whole meeting is set for May 27 at 6 p.m. in City Hall.

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