By Sue Botos
After two years of postponing wage increases, Rocky River firefighters will receive the third year of their original collective bargaining agreement in the form of a 2.5-percent adjustment in 2013.
At its last session of 2012 on Dec. 17, City Council gave the go-ahead to legislation setting annual salaries for city employees. While for the most part there were few changes from the previous year, the measure reflects the fire department increase plus the rise in minimum wage, as well as a few retirements.
In order to balance the 2011 budget, all collective bargaining units, police, fire and service, agreed to freeze their wages, forgoing 2.5-percent raises. Last year, only firefighters voted to defer their contract until 2013. In addition, on July 1, they will receive an equity adjustment of 1 percent, which was negotiated in the fall of 2008.
Mayor Pam Bobst explained that salaries for nonbargaining city employees will remain locked; however, it’s hoped that mandatory furlough days, which were put in place last year to stretch city dollars, can be ended. “This represents zeros across the board. Our goal is to remove furlough days,” Bobst commented. She said that the required days off without pay amounted to a 4.6-percent reduction in compensations last year.
Bobst added that changes from the previous year’s wage ordinance include the deletion of a part-time secretarial position in the economic development department plus the discontinuance of the police division’s administrative assistant position. After 40 years, and serving six chiefs of police, Donna Gluvna retired in December. Her job was consolidated and filled by youth services coordinator Julie Morron, who will continue her work with the D.A.R.E. program and other functions of the juvenile division. Bobst added that the salary adjustment from $51,900 to $55,000 will result in a “considerable” savings for the city.
In addition, the measure reflects the minimum wage increase from $7.70 to $7.85 per hour. Most of these jobs are part-time positions in the recreation department and senior center.
The only open issue that remained, according to Bobst, was the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). The bargaining unit has not had an increase in compensation in two years, and an increase was being discussed with the management committee at West Life’s press time.
Bobst said that traditionally, WWTP negotiations followed along with those of the service department. However, since there are four communities involved (Rocky River, Fairview Park, Bay Village and Westlake) in the use and operation of the WWTP, any increases should be split among all four. When compensation is finalized, the wage ordinance will be amended with retroactive increases for WWTP employees.