Interviews for 4th Ward opening, discussions on dispatchers’ contract at Council

By Patrick Keck - [email protected]

PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth City Council and the City Managers will hold its regularly scheduled session Monday, Nov. 9, starting at 6 p.m. at the Shawnee State University Ballroom.

Before any readings of legislation, Council will be conducting interviews for the open 4th Ward seat. This portion of the meeting will be in executive session, the first meeting without the ward’s councilperson Andrew McManus who announced his resignation during the Oct. 12 session.

Former Mayor and councilperson Jim Kalb is believed to be a candidate, after he indicated in an Oct. 13 Portsmouth Daily Times article that he would be applying to rejoin. Kalb resigned in a February 2018 Council meeting and would later lose to McManus in the 2019 election.

“I had intentions of being on there when I ran,” said Kalb in that article, who served Portsmouth for more than 20 years and would hold the seat for the remainder of the term. “I’m excited about the opportunity to serve again.”

Discussions regarding amending the city’s Zoning Map and a renewal of its agreement with Main Street Portsmouth will be in third reading. 1871 Bonser Ave. would have its zoning as Residence “B” District to “Agricultural” with the amendment if passed. The city’s partnership with Main Street Portsmouth would be extended through 2023, an annual cost of $55,000.

In second reading, City Auditor Trent Williams could be authorized to amend appropriations to reflect actual revenues and expenditures in order to balance and close the city’s books for the 2020 fiscal year.

Yet, what could draw more conversation is the contested acceptance of the collective bargainning agreement between the city and the Fraternal Order of Police/Ohio Labor Council Dispatchers Unit.

In Council’s most recent session, multiple councilpeople said they were not impressed by the service of the Portsmouth Police Department dispatchers and Mayor Kevin Johnson and McManus voted against moving it to second reading.

“What this is a raise in pay,” said Johnson during that session, the agreementindicating that these raises would go into effect immediately after passage by Council. “I can’t see having a raise in pay for a job that hasn’t been a well-done job.”

The agreement file, sent by Portsmouth PD to the Times, said dispatchers would receive a 2.75% pay increase effective Jan. 1, 2020, and two 2.5% increases in 2021 and 2022 in addition to a 10% hourly pay increase in lieu of the city’s pension pickup program.

According to the document, the current hourly wages of a 1st-year dispatcher are $14.55. After these increases, a 1st-year dispatcher would earn $17.28 per hour in 2022, which is more than what a 3rd-year dispatcher is paid currently. The lead dispatcher’s wages would go from $18.35 to $21.79 in 2022.

A considerable amount of legislation, six pieces in total, will be in first reading, including such materials as the comprehensive housing analysis, a code enforcement spreadsheet, a moratorium for new institutional care facilities, and boat storage.

Again due to the coronavirus, the meeting will not be open to public attendance. Those interested can tune-in on Council’s Facebook livestream.

Council asks that all statements or remarks be sent via email to City clerk Dianna Ratliff at [email protected] before 2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The timer will be set and there will be a 5 minute time limit on each comment that is received.

By Patrick Keck

[email protected]

Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.

Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.