December 19, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria Council rejects dispatch back pay

ELYRIA — The city’s police dispatchers have been working without a new contract since July 2009, and it seems like they will be doing so for a while longer.

City Council voted 9-0 to reject a fact finder’s report that called for pay increases that would have forced the city to pay thousands in retroactive pay to dispatchers. Councilmen Forrest Bullock, D-2nd Ward, and Mark Craig, I-4th Ward, were absent from the meeting.

Safety Service Director Chris Eichenlaub said the next step in the negotiation process is to call in a conciliator. The conciliator will look at both sides and come up with a final contract.

Eichenlaub said the city could not support and he could not recommend Council accept a report that includes a retroactive pay finding.City Auditor Ted Pileski did not publicly state how much the retro pay would cost the city. A representative of the union was not in attendance at Monday’s meeting.

But according to the executive summary of the report, which was written by attorney James Mancini, wages and longevity were the two main issues that have kept the city and union from reaching an agreement.

The city proposed a wage freeze for the duration of the three-year agreement that would be retroactive to July 2009. The union proposed a 4-percent increase starting July 2010 and a 3.5-percent increase beginning July 2011.

The fact finder recommended an increase of 1 percent starting July 2010 and a 1.5 percent starting July 2011.

There was no discussion of pay from July 2009 to July 2011.

The next issue was longevity pay. The city wanted to freeze longevity pay and eliminate it for employees hired after July 2010.

The union had previously stated it wanted no change to their contract in regards to longevity.

The report sided with the union and recommended no change to that clause of the contract.

This is the second fact finder’s report Council has been presented with in recent weeks. Earlier this summer, Council rejected a report that dealt with the fire union’s contract. The conciliator has also been called in to render a decision.

A merger of the county sheriff’s dispatchers and 911 Center was announced last week. A similar consolidation has been discussed with Elyria’s dispatchers, but Police Chief Duane Whitely any change is years away.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com.