WARREN - Twenty-four mid- to upper-level management employees in Warren will receive a slight pay raise and the city will pay more toward their retirement in a new three-year agreement that's projected to save the general fund $116,776 over the course of the contract.
The changes are the result of fact-finding, needed when negotiations with members of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 2501 broke down in March over pay, retirement benefits and pay for a newly created position of administrative assistant.
The union represents workers in the water, water pollution control, data, community development, operations and environmental services departments.
A fact-finder sided with bargaining unit members by awarding them pay raises of 1.5 percent this year and in the next two years, and ruled the city pay 1.5 percent more this year and 0.5 percent more in 2015 toward their retirement, considerably less than the 6 percent sought by the bargaining team. The city previously picked up 1 percent of the employees' Public Employee Retirement System contribution, compared to 10 percent for other units.
Negotiators for the city wanted to freeze pay in the first year and give 1.5 percent increases in years two and three.
Siding with the city, the fact-finder ruled the pay rate for the administrative assistant's position will be $21.50 an hour. The union wanted $24.38 an hour, the lowest pay rate in the unit now.
The new position will assume purchasing and purchasing review duties similar to the city's former Administrative Coordinator Lisa Mazzochi, who retired in April. Before she left, some members of city council began an effort to either eliminate or consolidate the position, saying there was no longer a need for the high-paying position.
Mazzochi earned $36.89 and hour when she retired, and the position was due to earn $37.45 an hour this year, $38.01 in 2015 and $38.58 in 2016. At the lower rate, even with slight wage increases, the saving to the general fund over th life of the contract will be $116,776.
The contract will cost Warren $250,000 over the next three years, but only $86,000 in the general fund. Some bargaining unit members are paid with different funds.
City Council approved the deal Wednesday.