Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 20, 2014

Bargaining continues with jailers’ union

By DIANE VANCE,Ledger staff writer | Nov 26, 2012

Jefferson County Board of Supervisors presented Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office initial bargaining proposal for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Local 616, Jefferson County jailers, to the county’s negotiator Steve Siegel today.

The sheriff’s office proposed keeping current language for hours of work and overtime, and holiday pay.

Currently employees who work in excess of 171 hours in a 28-day period are paid overtime. Paid leaves and vacation are not counted as working time for purposes of determining overtime.

The union had asked for changes to the contract so all employees who work in excess of 40 hours in a week be paid at the rate of 1.5 their normal rate; and paid leaves, vacation and holidays would be counted to determine overtime.

Currently, all full-time employees are paid double their straight, regular rate of pay for working on holidays.

The holidays — New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Friday after, and Christmas Day — are nine days a year recognized as holidays.

The union had proposed paying jailers two times their straight time for all hours worked on a holiday.

The sheriff’s office initial proposal today included deleting the following language regarding vacation time: “Employees may use six days of accrued vacation on a single day basis annually, with prior approval of the jail administrator. And, employees may carryover 48 hours of accrued, unused vacation time into the following year.”

The county declined all requests about safety glasses because it would provide a greater benefit than what sheriff office employees receive.

The jailers union had asked the county to pay full cost of an eye exam and for lenses that meet OSHA standards once every 24 months. The union has asked the county to pay for full cost of frames that meet OSHA standards, up to a maximum cost of $50, then one-half of cost exceeding $450. Frames would be limited to one pair every 24 months.

The sheriff’s office proposed keeping current language for medical insurance benefits, with the understanding that employees electing single coverage will pay 25 percent of the cost of a single premium.

Current language says jailers receive an allowance to purchase medical insurance in an amount as allotted by the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors each fiscal year.

The union had proposed a change to medical insurance coverage: Continue to provide health insurance options to employees as of July 1, 2012. The county would pay for the entire premium for employees and 75 percent of the difference between single and family coverage for those employees desiring family coverage. The county would continue to provide all other insurance coverages available to employees as of July 1.

Today’s initial wage proposal from the sheriff’s office and county is a 1 percent across the board wage increase. A longevity schedule also was proposed by the sheriff’s office beginning at three years, a 5-cent hourly increase added to base salary. Every three years the longevity hourly amount increases by 5-cents more; so six years receives a 10-cent increase, up to 30 years earning a 50-cent hourly increase to base pay.

The union had asked for a 4 percent increase in base hourly salaries for fiscal year 2013-2014.

“I’ll contact Paul [Greuf, union negotiator] and schedule a meeting,” said Siegel.

 

Time for new 28E agreements

Supervisor chairman Steve Burgmeier said it is the time to negotiate new contracts between the county sheriff and the smaller incorporated towns in Jefferson County using the sheriff’s office for law enforcement.

“We need to get this settled for budget time,” he said. “Looking at the sheriff’s budget and the amount of work done in the smaller cities, I think it’s time to negotiate new 28E agreements.

“If we don’t do it this year, the agreements automatically renew for a three-year extension.”

Assistant county attorney Pat McAvan said the 28E agreements between the sheriff’s office and towns have been the same since 2001.

“I’ll get a written notice to the towns we’ll want to negotiate with,” said McAvan.

Supervisor Lee Dimmitt asked if the county negotiates individually with each town or if the county has a blanket agreement covering all.

“How it’s been done before is we develop a formula and have the same rate applied to all the towns,” said McAvan.

Dimmitt said a “particular situation may need a separate agreement.”

McAvan said he suggests having an offer to put on the table.

Supervisors and deputy sheriff Gregg Morton agreed to meet in a special meeting at 9 a.m. Dec. 6, to further discuss 28E agreements with the towns. The meeting is open to the public and will be held in the supervisors’ first floor meeting room in the Jefferson County Courthouse.

 

County needs input in city’s development plan

Beth Williams in the audience spoke during public comments, saying the supervisors or county needs to have a liaison attend the Fairfield City Council meeting tonight.

“The city is having its economic development plan on the agenda tonight,” she said. “I’m concerned about the county and agriculture being represented in the plan.”

The 7 p.m. city council meeting includes a public hearing about adoption of Fairfield commercial/industrial/ residential urban revitalization plan, followed by a resolution to adopt the plan.

Supervisor Dick Reed said Tracy Vance, executive director of Fairfield Economic Development Association is the county’s representative at the city council meetings.

“We have a seat at the table,” said Reed. “We help fund Tracy’s position and he is a part of us.”

Williams said she is concerned to have agriculture become more sustainable in providing fresh, local food to all of southeast Iowa.

Burgmeier mentioned the $200,000 grant Resource Conservation and Development received that will provide local fresh food to schools.

“That’s just two schools,” said Williams. “It’s a drop in the bucket.”

She noted young people trying to break into farming have a hard time. And young people leave the area to pursue jobs, and then return to the area, hopeless.

“I’m interested in the underbelly of Fairfield,” she said. “I’m working hard to help the young people. The county has a high rate of substance abuse, and the young people know it. Along with that is the high incidence of STDs in Jefferson County.”

Dimmitt invited Williams to attend the next Substance Abuse Awareness Committee meeting at noon Dec. 10, at the county fairgrounds. It is an open meeting.

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