By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO In a move forced by an inability to “retreat” into other positions, the county’s Division of Public Works (DPW) supervisors struck a deal with legislators on Friday to keep their jobs and save a colleague’s.
Teamsters Local 445 Business Agent Sandy Shaddock, who represented the supervisors, said they found out that while the 13 supervisors could “bump” each other out of their positions in case of layoffs, they could not “retreat” to previously held titles.
One of their own, Road Maintenance Supervisor Brian Worzel, was already on the chopping block, and the county had been hinting that this first round of layoffs might not be the last.
“So they really were forced to make some concessions in order to preserve their jobs,” Shaddock explained.
Those concessions were ratified by the Legislature in an 8-0 vote Friday (Frank Armstrong was absent):
• All 13 full-time positions within the DPW Supervisory Unit will be retained until the end of the current contract on December 31, 2012.
• All 13 will now contribute 15 percent of their health insurance premiums this year and next, up to $2,700 a year.
• Longevity payments will remain, but “infrastructure” payments will be eliminated ($75 per year of service for 2011 and $85 per year of service for 2012).
• Raises will be cut from four percent this year to two percent, and from 4.5 percent next year to 2.25 percent.
• The county will retain the ability to eliminate any position that becomes vacant via a retirement.
As a result, around $100,000-$120,000 will be saved, allowing Worzel to keep his job.
Shaddock lauded the unit for its willingness to work cooperatively for a colleague.
“It was a very hard pill for a lot of them to swallow,” she acknowledged of the concessions. “But they were able to come up with something they could live with. ... This is one great group of guys.”
Legislature Chairman Jonathan Rouis and County Manager David Fanslau were equally laudatory.
“The membership is to be congratulated for coming together and agreeing to conditions that will save a co-worker’s position, while sacrificing at the same time,” said Fanslau.
Added Rouis, “This is the type of creativity that will produce a better result for the taxpayers and the employees.”
Last day for some
Nevertheless, yesterday remained the last day for more than half a dozen county employees.
A DPW building engineer could not be saved, despite the unit’s efforts. And though a records officer in the County Clerk’s Office kept his job, nine other county workers are now unemployed or will be by the end of the week:
• Senior E-911 Database Clerk (Real Property Tax Services)
• Administrative Secretary (Planning)
• Audit Clerk
• Senior Budget Analyst
• Legal Secretary (County Attorney)
• Two Board of Elections clerks
• Tax Clerk (Treasurer’s Office)
“It’s very unfortunate we were not able to reach an agreement that would have kept all of the employees employed,” lamented Fanslau.
However, he added, “at this point, I am not planning for another round of layoffs” this year.
Such a decision, Fanslau explained, will not come until after the county’s third-quarter performance figures are known, including sales tax amounts.
In the meantime, he’s planning to talk with the unions about shopping around for cheaper (but not inferior) healthcare plans for county employees.