December 22, 2014

Medina
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Brunswick city employee unions near new contract agreements

BRUNSWICK — City officials have reached agreements with three unions representing almost all city employees.

The new contracts, which must be approved by City Council in three readings, will be retroactive to Jan. 1.

Most of the new contracts include a raise of 2.5 percent a year for the next two years, with smaller raises in 2016. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the inflation rate over the last four years averaged about 2 percent annually.

Police Chief Carl DeForest, who is interim city manager, and helped to oversee the negotiations over the last few months, said Julie Murawski, manager of the city’s administrative services division.

“Chief DeForest was at the table, along with our finance director and myself,” Murawski said. “The unions had their representatives there.”

Murawski said the city also consulted with legal counsel during the negotiations.

DeForest, who took over as interim manager in August, said negotiations started at the end of last year and went well.

“I knew there was a chance I would be overseeing negotiations,” he said. DeForest said he served as a negotiator for the police sergeants when he held the title in the Brunswick Police Department.

“It was on the other side of things, but I was familiar with the negotiations process,” he said.

Six contracts were negotiated — three with the Fraternal Order of Police, two with the Teamsters and one with the International Firefighters Local 3568:

• The firefighters’ contract includes a 2 percent raise each year for the next three years for all lieutenants in the Fire Department. Fire medics would get a 2.5 percent raise in 2014, a 2.25 percent raise in 2015 and a 2 percent raise in 2016.

• The Teamsters’ Streets Division Employees’ three-year contract would provide a 2.5 percent raise in 2014 and 2015 and a 1.75 percent raise in 2016.

• The three-year contract for the clerical employees represented by the Teamsters in finance, parks and recreation, permits and inspections and division of fire employees provides the same benefits as street employees — a 2.5 percent raise in 2014 and 2015 and a 1.75 percent raise in 2016.

• The Police Department’s communications specialists would receive a 2.5 percent raise in 2014 and 2015 and a 1.75 percent raise in 2016.

• In the Police Department, sergeants now are paid 15 percent above the highest patrolman’s salary. That remains the same during the years 2014 and 2015, but would increase to 15.5 percent above in 2016.

• Patrol officers will receive a 2 percent raise in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Council members will allow the union contracts to be read three separate times before voting to approve them, as required by the city charter. The contracts will go into effect 30 days after the approval.

DeForest said he kept Council informed about negotiations while they were underway, so Council members had input on the final contracts.

In other action Monday, Council approved the sale of one-third of an acre of city property adjacent to St. Ambrose Catholic Parish for $15,000.

The unused property is near the city’s water tower and the Diocese of Cleveland, which represents the church, was the only one to bid on the property at public auction.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com. Follow her on Twitter @lorengenson.