Borough Board Recap – 2/5/2014

Posted by Bob on February 5, 2014 under Daily Blogs | Be the First to Comment

The following actions were taken by the Board of Mayor and Burgesses (“BMB”) last evening (2/4/2014) at the regular monthly meeting.

Information Technology Ordinance

The BMB approved ratification of the Borough’s first information technology (“IT”) ordinance by a vote of nine (9) to one (1).  The new ordinance, which can be viewed here, establishes a IT Commission in partnership with the Naugatuck Board of Education (“BoE”).  The seven-member commission will be named in the coming weeks.

As IT becomes an increasingly critical component of both municipal and BoE operations, the new ordinance recognizes the need for detailed analysis of and planning for the Borough’s future needs.  The new commission will advise and make recommendations to the members of the BoE, Board of Finance and BMB during the budget process and other important decision-making opportunities throughout the fiscal year.  We would like to thank Chairperson/Deputy Mayor Tamath Rossi, Borough IT Director Jim Kallipolites and BoE IT Director Alan Merly for formulating an ad hoc IT committee that has already begun to address some of the subject matter in preparation for the 2014-2015 budget process.  We are also grateful for the volunteers who have come forth to serve on the committee and lend their expertise in the IT field to the Borough.

Anti-Scavenging Ordinance

The BMB also approved the adoption of an anti-scavenging ordinance, which can be viewed here (exact language subject to final approval by the Borough attorney).  The purpose of the ordinance was to address the growing concerns of citizens regarding individuals who rummage through the recycle and/or trash bins placed curbside by residents.   While several Burgesses stated no objections to individuals in financial need searching for returnable recyclables, there were concerns raised relative to public safety, littering and organized efforts to take recyclables in large amounts for profit.  Prior to the adoption of the ordinance, law enforcement officials had no way to prevent individuals from searching through trash and/or recyclables placed curbside for collection.  While there is no intention to enforce the ban in a overly-aggressive manner, the new ordinance provides law enforcement with a necessary tool to use to cease such activity on occasions when such actions become problematic.

Approval of New Collective Bargaining Agreement with Public Works Employees

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses (“BMB”) unanimously authorized execution of a new collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) between the Borough and the Public Works collective bargaining unit (“CBU”), American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Employees (“AFSCME, AFL-CIO”), Local 1303-12 (hereinafter “AFSCME Public Works”).  The agreement, which covers the period from July 1, 2012 (retroactively) through June 30, 2015, can be viewed here.  A Contract Settlement Summary of the CBA prepared by Director of Human Resources John Lawlor can be viewed here in both Microsoft Word and .pdf format.

The CBA includes changes in contributions to existing employee health benefits similar to the agreements reached with other bargaining units.  A summary of the CBA is as follows:

Health Care

The Borough achieved significant cost savings as a result of changes to health benefit packages offered to the members of the CBU.  Two choices are offered to members:  the traditional preferred provider organization or “PPO”; and the high deductible health plan or “HDHP”, which for the plan offered is a health savings account or “HSA”.  Many members of the CBU have already switched to the HSA through previous negotiations.

PPO

Retroactive to January 1, 2013, the premium cost share for members in enrolled in the PPO plan will increase from eight (8%) percent to nine (9%) percent.  Premium cost shares for members will increase to ten (10%) percent and eleven and 50/100ths (11.5%) percent respectively on July 1, 2013 (retroactively); and July 1, 2014.

HDHP or HSA

The Borough and the AFSCME Public Works CBU agreed to changes to the existing HSA plan that will result in savings. Retroactive to January 1, 2013, members will pay two (2%) percent for the premium cost share of the HSA.  That percentage will rise to  four (4%) percent effective January 1, 2014, and increase to six (6%) percent beginning January 1, 2015.    Effective January 1, 2013, the HSA deductible will shift to a TWO THOUSAND and 00/100THS ($2,000.00) DOLLAR / FOUR THOUSAND and 00/100THS ($4,000.00) DOLLAR plan.

More importantly, members enrolled in the HSA will gradually increase the deductible paid toward their respective plan in the following manner over the life of the agreement (plans are managed on the basis of calendar years rather than fiscal years):

  • Retroactive to January 1, 2013: members will pay thirty (30%) percent of the deductible;
  • Effective January 1, 2014: members will increase their portion of the deductible to forty (40%) percent; and
  • Beginning January 1, 2015: members will increase their portion of the deductible to fifty (50%) percent.

The changes to the health benefits contained in the CBA represent significant savings to the Borough over the three (3) year period.  The Borough is currently in the process of renegotiating health benefit rates and seeking bids from alternative carriers.  Our Department of Finance did not provide a fiscal analysis of the savings due to the volatility of the premium renewal figures already provided by the existing carrier, and the uncertainty of alternative pricing structures being solicited.

Pensions

No changes were made to the pension as an agreement was reached in a previous agreement to provide defined contribution pension plans to new members of the CBU.  The defined benefit pension plan is no longer offered to new hires in any of the Borough’s seven (7) municipal bargaining units.

Wages

Members of the CBU will receive increases in general wages for the following years at the following rates:

  • 2012-2013:  Two and 15/100ths (2.15%) percent (retroactive to July 1, 2012);
  • 2013-2014:  Two and 15/100ths (2.15%) percent (retroactive to July 1, 2013; and
  • 2014-2015:  Two and 20/100ths (2.20%) percent.

In addition, the Borough agreed to increase the cleaning/clothing/safety allowance payments effective July 1, 2012, from EIGHT HUNDRED FIFTY and 00/100THS ($850.00) DOLLARS to NINE HUNDRED FIFTY and 00/100THS ($950.00) DOLLARS; and applicable meal allowance payments from SIX and 00/100THS ($6.00) DOLLARS to EIGHT and 00/100THS ($8.00) DOLLARS.

A fiscal analysis of the aforementioned totals including positions can be viewed in both Microsoft Excel and .pdf version. Said fiscal analysis uses conservative figures that do not include the yet-to-be-determined savings that will be achieved as a result of the changes to the health care plans as discussed above.

Other Changes

The Borough and the AFSCME Public Works CBU also agreed to other language changes in the new CBA, including but not limited to the following:

  • Clarifying the Borough’s right to use global position system (“GPS”) and/or security cameras in Borough vehicles;
  • Limiting the amount of unused sick time for which an existing employee (90 days) and new employee (30 days) can be compensated upon separation from employment with the Borough;
  • Establishing a drug and alcohol free workplace policy which authorizes testing;
  • Increasing the probationary period of new employees from ninety (90) to one hundred twenty (120) days; and
  • Streamlining the grievance process language.

Our administration would like to thank the members of the AFSCME Public Works CBU, particularly the representatives on the negotiating team, for respectful and productive dialogue.  Borough Labor Counsel Nick Grello, Director of Human Resources John Lawlor and Borough Controller Bob Butler were an integral part of the management process in addition to Director of Public Works Jim Stewart, and Public Works Superintendent Bob Roland.

We sincerely appreciate the hard work and commitment demonstrated by our public works employees on a daily basis. Their job requires hard work, long hours and is often performed in extreme weather conditions.  While their collective contributions often go unnoticed and, in my opinion, under-appreciated; Naugatuck could literally not function without them.  We also recognize the negotiating team for working toward a more sustainable health benefit system for its membership and the Borough alike.  The terms of the CBA are consistent with previous agreements reached with Borough teachers, clerical employees, visiting nurses, police officers, firefighters and supervisors which combined modest pay increases with significant health care savings. Given the constraints of the state’s current collective bargaining law , the new CBU represents an equitable compromise between both parties.  All Borough employment agreements for union and non-union employees are included on the Human Resource page of the Borough’s website (agreements can be accessed through the “choice a category” drop-down menu).

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