City approves raises for employees
Some employees in the city of South Lake Tahoe are getting a raise this Christmas.
The City Council unanimously approved a contract agreement Wednesday for the 60-member General and Public Works Unit which includes city planners, engineers, recreation supervisors, clerks and mechanics.
It’s the first of the seven city employee groups to settle on contract negotiations that started in August.
Gary Moore, an employee in the Public Works Unit, said it was a fair deal.
“This is a good win-win,” he said. “It’s a nice raise, and to come to agreement with the PERS money so quickly is great.”
Included in the agreement is a 3-percent salary increase effective Oct. 1, 1999, new language that modifies the night shift assignment and a $2,000 contribution to a retirement fund for each employee in the unit who is employed on Dec. 30.
The estimated cost to the city for the salary agreement is $192,460.
Linda Swain, the city’s human resource manager, said $112,000 of that cost will be paid with the $910,000 of unexpected savings in Public Employees’ Retirement System, or PERS. She also said the PERS money used in the agreement is proportionate to the unit’s contribution to the retirement system.
Councilmember Brooke Laine asked if the agreement on PERS money with the Public Works Unit would set a precedent for the other six city employee groups that are also looking for salary increases.
Mayor Tom Davis said the action shouldn’t have an effect with other negotiations.
“You’ve got to start somewhere,” he said. “I think you’ll see language similar to this in other units too.”
Jim Jorgensen, a labor negotiator for the police, agreed, saying settlements with other employee groups are irrelevant.
“Police issues are different than Public Works,” he said Tuesday.
A change in bargaining language was the only component of the agreement that didn’t get council approval.
The original agreement requested a deletion in Interest Based Negotiations language but councilmembers said they wanted to continue with that style of bargaining which calls for a resolution to issues when they are raised.
“I thought it fostered good relations,” Davis said. “I’d like to see it continued.”
Chuck Egbert, a labor negotiator for the Public Works Unit, said the employees also prefer interest-based bargaining and that the request was made to allow for revisions of the language.
“There is some disagreement with what the language means,” he said. “But if it’s a contentious item, I’d suggest we take it off the agreement.”
Councilmember Judy Brown motioned to revisit the bargaining language in the spring, before the Public Works Unit begins negotiations for their contracts for next year.
Contract negotiations for police officers, administrative and confidential employees, police supervisors, police employees, fire personnel and safety management are still under way.
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