Archived Story

ICC pass fire, police union contracts

Published 9:28am Friday, April 12, 2013

Unions take 7.5 percent retirement pickup, receive wage increase


After about a year of negotiations, Ironton City Council adopted a contract for the Fraternal Order of Police union at its Thursday night meeting.

Also adopted Thursday was a union contract for the International Association of Firefighters Local 532, about two months earlier than its previous contract required.

All council members were present and all voted in favor of passing both contracts, which are one-year agreements.

The FOP contract, which had its first reading in March, includes a 6 percent wage increase and 7.5 percent retirement pickup. The contract will cost the city about $36,000 additional for wage and payroll tax contributions but save about $46,000 in retirement costs.

Council suspended the rules and gave all three readings to the fire contract, which also included a 6 percent wage increase. Retirement pickup increased by 4.5 percent, which takes them to a total of 7.5 percent.

The city stands to save an additional $31,000 for the increase in retirement pickup.With the 6 percent wage increase, the city will pay an additional $40,000 in salaries and payroll tax contribution.

Also, the fire contract sets a clothing allowance at $1,720 yearly for each firefighter and a $100 food allowance per employee per month, about $100 and $20 more, respectively, than last year.

“They are back to a level basis on what they sacrificed last year,” said chief Tom Runyon on Friday.

But key to the contract, Mayor Rich Blankenship said, is the reduction in minimum staffing requirements per shift.

The new contract requires three firefighters per shift, which was previously set at four.

“The key component to the fire contract is they have agreed to three for minimum staffing, which will reduce the amount of overtime,” Blankenship said.

Blankenship said the past year and a half in negotiating union contracts hasn’t been easy on city management or the unions, and there was give and take required to settle the deals.

“People have to give and take and it’s taken a year and a half basically to get those settled,” he said.

Blankenship said the contracts aren’t perfect, but they are something to build on for next year.

A contract with American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 771 is still in negotiations and has been since January of 2012, but Blankenship said there is a tentative agreement in place and the contract should be on the next city council agenda.

In other business:

• Kristen Martin, city finance director, reminded council that the deadline for mandatory filing for all city residents with eligible income is April 15. This is regardless if your employer withholds local taxes, she said.

Retirees and disabled residents are exempt from the tax.

A late fee of $25 will be assessed after April 15 and Martin said it is more important to file on time as the income tax department can set up payment plans.

Required to file are all W-2s and a copy of the residents federal return with schedules.

The income tax department will be open today from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The office will have hours 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday.

Forms can also be postmarked by April 15 and mailed to the income tax department or dropped in the drop box on Vernon Street or in the office.

• Blankenship said the county would be working on a bridge replacement project for the Lawrence Street Bridge. That portion of the road will be closed beginning June 3 for about 90 days.

• Council had second reading of an ordinance that would dissolve the Ironton Port Authority.

• Council suspended the rules and adopted an ordinance vacating a portion of Buckhorn Street from Eighth Street northeast to Storms Creek.

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