The Press Newspaper
Oregon city council on Monday approved collective bargaining agreements with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and the Oregon Police Command Officers/Fraternal Order of Police.
The previous collective bargaining agreements with AFSCME and the Oregon Police Command Officers/Fraternal Order of Police had expired on June 30 and May 31, 2014 respectively.
The renewed contracts included pay raises over a three year period. As of July 14, 2014, employees received a 3 percent raise, which will be followed by 2 ¾ percent raise in July 2015, and a 2 ½ percent raise in July 2016.
The contracts are similar to the three year contract approved by council in June for the Oregon Police Patrolmen’s Association (OPPA) that included salary increases for police and dispatchers, said Mayor Mike Seferian.
“The substantial parts of the contract wages are identical,” he said. “The OPPA set the standard.”
“We feel this will continue to position Oregon as being able to attract and retain quality employees at the same time being responsible with the budget,” said Administrator Mike Beazley.
“One of the significant aspects of it was looking long term at getting greater control of our health care costs. We think we can do better with that,” he said.
Both contracts, as well as the contract with the OPPA, include the provision for the establishment of a Healthcare Cost Containment and Advisory Committee that will meet quarterly. It will serve in an advisory and recommending capacity to the employer and bargaining units on matters related to health care, health insurance and coverage, and wellness of employees. The committee will investigate methods and best approaches to providing health care and insurance for city employees and options to contain the overall costs of health care.
“We’re going to have ongoing recommendations to changes in health care during the life of the contracts in ways we think can responsibly meet the needs of our workforce, but also help control costs,” said Beazley. “It was a primary management objective.”
Both contracts had been approved by the respective unions last month, added Beazley.
Oregon will pay $185,000 per vehicle to Penn Care, of Niles, Ohio, for the two 2014 Braun rescue squads.
“We’re beyond the useful life on some of our equipment, and its equipment we believe is essential to the care that we provide to our residents,” said Beazley.
Fire Chief Paul Mullen said the squads will replace two van-type squads from 1999 and 2004. They include few add-ons with the exception of the Stryker power cot and load system, which will reduce strenuous lifting and the associated risk of back injury.
“It is an electrically operated hydraulically powered cot that hopefully will save us some Workers Comp injuries,” said Mullen. Lucas County life squads currently have the system, which self-loads into the trucks, he added.
“It has worked very, very effectively for the county.”
He said he hopes to get a grant to purchase more of the power cot and load systems for the city’s other rigs.
The specs and research were completed by a committee of Oregon firefighters from all three stations, he said.
In the next few months, the committee will look into replacing fire engines that are past their service dates as well as other fire equipment, said Mullen.
Councilman Tim Zale said he toured the fire stations with Mullen soon after he was appointed chief earlier this year and saw the need to update the stations and fire equipment.
“[Mullen] was very diligent right from the beginning to consider how we were going to start updating the fire stations and the equipment, much of which is outdated,” said Zale, who is also chairman of the Safety Committee. “He has been very proactive getting started on that. I think we’ve probably been a little late in addressing the situation. The two squads we are purchasing are two pieces of equipment that are probably used the most by the fire department. It’s the right thing to do. They’ve done a good job researching it. I think it’s time we do spend money on this equipment.”
Also at the meeting, council approved:
• Levying special assessments for property owner’s share of the cost of lighting the streets and public ways for $306,775.77.
• Levying special assessment for property owners’ share of the cost of maintaining drainage facilities in Heritage Estates, Park Place, Hickory Shores, Cardinal Estates, The Vineyard, The Drake, Foxgate, Bay Meadows, and Parkgelande subdivisions for $11,169.98.
• Levying special assessments for the cutting of noxious weeds for $3,394.38.