By Jeff Gallatin
Administration and police union officials expect to receive the final report sometime in July after the two sides concluded their fact-finding session Thursday.
The sessions between negotiators for Mayor Kevin Kennedy’s administration and the police patrol officers, supervisors, dispatchers and correctional officers took place at City Hall. It was concluded in one day, which officials noted is not always the case. Most sessions last one to two days, with North Olmsted officials noting one several years ago with another union took five days to conclude.
Officials set up the session earlier this spring after the two sides were unable to reach a new contract agreement after the previous three-year contract expired at the end of 2011.
Both sides said they were glad to conclude the work in one day.
“We’re glad to have it concluded,” said Capt. Mike Kilbane, who represents the supervisors union. “It was a good session, and now we wait until the fact-finding report is issued.”
Once the report is issued, Kilbane said, the unions will present it to their members to decideon whether or not to accept its findings.
Cheryl Farver, human resources director for the city of North Olmsted, said she was pleased by how the sessions went.
“Everything went well,” she said. “It was a very professional session.”
Fact-finders normally make their reports within 30 to 45 days in this case meaning the report would be due in mid- to late July.
“He (the fact-finder) assured he would issue the report promptly,” Farver said. “Normally, it’s 30 to 45 days, but he said it could be as soon as 15 days.”
Kennedy’s administration is expected to present it to North Olmsted City Council for formal approval. If it arrives in July, it will necessitate calling a special meeting, since council is scheduled to be off that month.
If neither side calls for a vote within 10 days of the report being issued, its findings are deemed as accepted. If one side or the other votes not to accept, the matter goes to binding arbitration.
Neither side would cite specifics because of the unfinished nature of the negotiations. The last three-year pact, which was not settled until a year into the deal, contained concessions sought by the city administration to help combat the effects of the major recession under way at the time, as well as diminished city receipts in various taxes and government funds. The amount of concessions varied from worker to worker, which police union officials said ranged from 10 to 15 percent annually, depending on seniority, rank and related contract criteria. Officials acknowledged officers’ pay scales are last among Westshore-area departments.