NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

January 23, 2013

City workers agree to settle contracts

(Continued)

All COLAs agreed to as part of these negotiations are effective Jan 1, 2013, “which cuts the cost impacts of these increases in this fiscal year by half of what they would be if they were retro back to July 1,” city officials said.

The city has 259 total non-school employees, including parking attendants, as well as other employees who are exempt from these raises for various reasons (contract, seasonal, hourly and other functions).

The size of some of the major departments are as follows: fire department, 36; highway department, 25; water department, 24; sewer department, 23; library, 20; and police department, 14. The mayor’s office has three employees.

Total personnel services for FY13 (including enterprise funds) on the city side (non-school) was budgeted at: $24,961,116. This includes all personnel costs (salary, overtime, reimbursements, stipends, retirement, workman’s comp, health insurance, unemployment, etc), according to city officials.

In her message to the City Council, Holaday indicated that her office had endeavored to look closely at every expense.

In the agreement with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Workers (AFSCMW), for instance, the education stipend was eliminated for all new employees. Language on sick leave was strengthened to address “sick leave abuse.”

Also, new guidelines state that five less vacation days will be part of the contracts of all new employees.

But a step was added for all employees with more than 10 years with the city and a change in minimum hours paid for weekend/holiday emergency calls was increased from three to four hours.

The AFSCME union includes employees in the highway, water and sewer departments, librarians, City Hall administrative staff, custodians, police administrative staff and police-fire dispatchers.

Positions of the veterans affairs director ($5,329) and the harbormaster ($5,000) were upgraded to reflect “an evaluation of job requirements and a salary survey for these positions in comparable communities.”

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