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No raises in Palestine

December 17, 2012
Salem News

EAST PALESTINE - Members of the local Teamsters and Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) will not have their wages increased next year.

Union representatives began negotiations with village officials in early November regarding the annual wage reopeners and the agreement was approved by council last week.

The unions were negotiating for the remaining three years of the five-year contract that expires in 2015. Teamsters Local 377 covers street, park and waste department employees plus clerical employees in the water department, while the FOP covers full-time dispatchers and patrolmen.

In 2011, part-time employees with the fire department received a step plan increase in wages depending on how many calls they responded to and part-time police department employees received a step plan increase based on years of service sand hours worked, Finance Director Traci Thompson said.

In 2012, all full-time employees received a 2.5 percent wage increase.

Thompson said the unions, and all village employees, will not see a wage increase in 2013.

The police and fire departments combined account for just under $1 million of the $5 million total operating budget. The departments' funding is a part of the general fund, which accounts for roughly $1.7 million of the budget.

"The unions and employees have worked well with the village. We have a good working relationship with the unions," Thompson said.

The unions will be able to negotiate for a wage increase at the end of 2013 for 2014.

Village Manager Pete Monteleone said another agreement reached during the negotiations was a change in the clothing allotment for police officers and dispatchers and a procedure for what should be done if the K9 unit is ever disbanded or retired.

Previously, officers were given money to purchase their own uniforms but now the money will be included as a line item in the budget and Chief Kevin Dickey will have the authority to purchase the uniforms on behalf of the officers and dispatchers.

"We are just trying to make the department more professional," Monteleone said.



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