Perrysburg firefighters' raises set PDF Print E-mail
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer   
Thursday, 08 November 2012 11:41
PERRYSBURG - Council somewhat grudgingly approved a contract with city firefighters Tuesday night in the face of a conciliator's report.
"My dissatisfaction is with the system," said Councilman Maria Ermie at the meeting. "It's broken and in my opinion needs to be revised."
Contract negotiations between council and the International Association of Firefighters Local 3331, which represents employees of the Perrysburg Fire Division, went to a fact finder earlier this year after no deal could be reached over raises in the firefighters' contracts.
The fact finder's report recommended a 2.75 percent raise in 2012, and a 2.5 percent raise in 2013 and 2014, which was accepted by the union, but rejected by council unanimously. The negotiations then, by law, went on to a conciliator who, "by statute, must choose either the City or Firefighter's final offer and cannot permit a compromise," Ermie said in a press release issued late Tuesday.
In the end, the conciliator chose the firefighters' final offer of no raise in 2012, but a 5.25 percent raise next year, and a 2.5 percent raise in 2014.
"He said that Perrysburg is affluent and can afford to pay either one of the increases," Ermie said, but noted that the conciliator did not take into account other financial issues.
"I will be voting yes but I do not support this decision," said Ermie, explaining that her displeasure stems from the negotiating system itself, not with the employees. This sentiment was echoed by councilman Tim McCarthy. Councilman Todd Grayson also stated that he was voting for the contract "under duress."
A conciliator's findings are required to be approved by statute.
"It's no reflection on employees or their worth or their service," Ermie explained.
In other business, council approved a contract with Best Equipment Company for the acquisition of four previously-owned side-arm loading vehicles and refuse and recycling totes for more than 5,600 households in the city. The items are to be purchased for not more than $1.2 million.
The action is part of a new refuse and recycling program in the city, which will utilize the automated trucks at a substantial savings to the city.
According to the language of the measure, "the City's Department of Public Service has determined implementing these initiatives would likely decrease costs to the city by reducing necessary personnel, reducing workers compensation exposure, and reducing the amount of refuse the city would need to pay to dispose; and would also make recycling easier and more efficient for residents, which in turn should increase the amount of recycling revenue generated for the city."
The personnel noted are to be reduced through attrition, not layoffs.

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