Last updated: July 24. 2013 1:32PM - 61 Views

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PDT Staff Writer

Portsmouth City Council, at the last minute before their Monday night meeting began, added an item to the agenda, the ratification of the contract with AFSCME (American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees) Local 1039, the city’s largest employee bargaining unit.

When the item came up, Council again went into executive session, then returned a half-hour later and ratified the contract — but not before waiving the required three readings, designed to give citizens the opportunity to look at legislation and to comment on it before passage.

The ordinance gave no specifics as to what the contract said, only that it covered the period of May 1, 2012, through April 30, 2015.

The Portsmouth Daily Times asked for and received a copy of the contract after it had been ratified, and according to Portsmouth Mayor David Malone, the contract will save the city $190,879.96 per year. The city has been paying approximately $645 per employee. Under the new contract the cost will decrease to $500 per employee. Savings of $14,645 yearly. With 75 family plans and 18 single plans, the employee contributions totaled $50,400. Under new contract the city will collect an additional $79,380.

With the new contract wage rates are the same as listed in the previous contract for 2012 and 2013 with a re-opener in 2014. Also pension pick-up was decreased from 10 percent to 7 percent for the contract period.

The contract reflected a $35 dollar increase in the longevity pay. The increase will cost the City $3,535 per year; The city will no longer set up a clothing account for each union member, but will issue a check to each union member in the amount of $500 for the purchase of approved clothing, safety shoes and one set of Carhartt outerwear per contract year; Employee pay-in for a single benefit plan will increase from $25.00 to $80.00 and the family plan will increase from $50 to $125; President’s Day and Good Friday holidays were added.

In other action, Council continued to suspend the rules requiring three readings, and passed several pieces of legislation. Council passed an ordinance authorizing the City Auditor to make necessary fund transfers and appropriations in water and sewer funds to reconcile accounts due to inadvertent posting and payment errors discovered after year-end in finishing out and balancing a previously approved sewer project.

Council waived the three readings; then passed the ordinance 6-0.

Council also passed an ordinance authorizing the City Auditor to make the appropriate changes, as directed by Laura Davis, Portsmouth Police Department grants administrator, to various Portsmouth Police Department finds that have had financial posting errors for fiscal years 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Council waived the three readings; then passed the ordinance 6-0.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at flewis@heartlandpublications.com

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