TROY — At Monday’s Troy City Council meeting, Troy Fire Fighters Local 1638 President Josh Havenar publicly addressed council and city staff in regards to the union rejecting the city’s proposed memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Aug. 12.
In an Aug. 14 email to council and the media, city public service and safety director Patrick Titteringon outlined eight areas the city’s MOU to the union addressed.
In an Aug. 12 letter to Titterington, Havenar stated, “To move forward with this MOU or any variation would be going against our legal counsel’s advice. It is our desire to still work with the city to negotiate a full-time option to ensure that the citizens of Troy receive the best service possible.”
The union voted down the MOU on July 15 with 20 of its 34 members in attendance at the time of the vote. According to Havenar, the fire department union members are still moving forward with a referendum in regards to the ordinance to establish the wage for level two fire fighters/paramedics and EMTs on the November 3 ballot. The ordinance passed with a 6-2 city council vote on July 7, 2014.
Titterington stated in the Aug. 14 email, “It’s regrettable that we couldn’t come to an agreement on this MOU, as it would have cost effectively improved service to the city. However, we are confident with Novak’s conclusions that our current staffing levels are sufficient to continue providing excellent EMS and fire protection to the community. Therefore, we will maintain the status quo.”
At the council meeting, Havenar said the union felt as if Titterington “drew a line in the sand.”
“He said he had addressed all of our concerns, but if that was the case, we probably would have signed that MOU,” Havenar said. “We wanted contract language, and he said he would not put anything in the contract because he could never get rid of it. We wanted a ratio of part-timers to full-timers, and he said he would not do that.”
Havenar said he forwarded the MOU on to the union’s legal counsel, who advised them not to sign it.
“Our biggest concern is the safety of the citizens and the fire fighters,” Havenar said.
In closing, Havenar stated he hoped to move forward, especially since the union is in the middle of contract negotiations with the city at this time.
According to the letter included with the Aug. 4 draft of the MOU:
— The City would, within the first six months of the signing of the MOU, increase the uniformed TFD complement from 38 to 41 full-time employees, by creating a new promoted position of Lieutenant (one for each shift);
— Within the first six months of the signing, the Chief would create a steering committee, which would include at least two Local 1638 members (as chosen by Local 1638 membership or leadership). Any additional members would be appointed by the Chief. That committee would be responsible for submitting proposed regulations, protocols, and procedures related to the screening, hiring, scheduling, equipping, and monitoring of part-time employees;
— Within the second six months of the signing, the Chief would create a pool of part-time candidates, trained as either EMTs or Paramedics, and assign one part-time EMT or Paramedic to each shift. Within the third six months of the signing, the Chief would assign a second part-time EMT or Paramedic to each shift;
— At all times, a minimum of eight (8) full-time Paramedics would be on duty on each shift, even if it would require overtime;
— In the event that City finances require changes to the personnel complement at the TFD, no full-time union employee will be laid off, nor will a position be left vacant and unfilled among the 41 full-time positions established by the MOU, until all part-time employees are laid off;
— The City would downgrade the vacant Assistant Chief to a Platoon Commander/Captain, thus adding to the complement of union employees and creating a dedicated scheduling, training, and administrative position to ensure the success of the part-time program and further improve the coordination of the TFD training regimen;
— Part-time staff would be subject to the same hiring and certification standards as full-time union employees, including but not limited to background, demographic, physical agility, medical and psychological screenings; and,
— The City will request that the Troy Civil Service Commission amends its rules to allow part-time employees in good standing with the TFD to earn supplemental service credits towards their score on a full-time Firefighter/Paramedic hiring list.
In other council news:
Council also voted 6-2 failing to reach a majority vote to suspend the rules on city elected official salaries.
Council members John Schweser and Bobby Phillips voted not to move forward with the proposed 2.25 to 2.5 percent salary per year increase effective next term. Their negative vote failed the majority needed to suspend the rules. Council member Robin Oda was not present on Monday.
After the meeting, Phillips said he didn’t think the increases were necessary. The ordinance includes raises are 2.5 percent in 2016, 2.25 percent in 2017, 2.25 percent in 2018, 2.25 percent in 2019 — which mirror raises given to all city employees in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.
If passed, the mayor’s salary would increase from its current $21,519 salary up to $23,580 in 2019: auditor from its current $55,341 salary up to $60,640 in 2019; law director for its current $55,341 salary up to $60,640 in 2019; President of Council from its current $8,195 salary up to $8,980 in 2019; Council member’s current $7,649 salary up to $8,382 in 2019; and city treasurer’s current $4,917 salary up to $5,375 in 2019.
The ordinance will go to a second reading in September.
During a public hearing, Kip Wahlers, of Ice Miller LLP, bond counsel to the Port Authority spoke in favor of the agreement w/Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority regarding the StoryPoint Project on Towne Park Drive.
The following legislation was adopted:
R-42-2015 ODOT preliminary consent legislation, resurfacing of N. Market Street (Staunton Road to Water Street)
R-43-2015 LPA Agreement w/ODOT for Recreation Trail Project in State in 2020
O-25-2015 Issue BANs for funds to purchase Huelskamp Farm, $1,500,000
PROPOSED CARRIAGE CROSSING WATER TOWER
Dozens of Carriage Crossing residents attended Monday’s meeting. Parkwood Drive residents, Katie Deland, Charles Adams and Deborah Billheimer addressed council advising several reasons why they are not in favor of the city’s tentative plan to erect a high rise water tower in the neighborhood’s park.
A tentative public meeting has been set for 6:30 p.m. Sept. 2 at Concord Elementary School to address questions, comments, and concerns about the proposed location of the water tower. At a recent park board meeting, city engineer Jillian Rhoades proposed the tower be located at the park to save money rather than purchasing privately owned land near Kings Chapel for its location. The Kings Chapel location’s estimated cost was approximately $100,000.
City council only has the authority to fund the construction of the tower or to authorize the purchase of privately owned land for city use.
Reach Melanie Yingst at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews