Girard ratifies new contracts with unions

GIRARD — The city has reached new three-year agreements with two of its unions.

Safety-Service Director Jerome Lambert told city council Monday the local chapter of American Federation of State, County, Municipal Employees and the local Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association both approved new agreements retroactive to Jan. 1.

AFSCME represents 31 employees in the street, water and sewer departments, as well as secretaries. The OPBA represents 20 police officers and dispatchers.

Lambert said the OPBA will receive a 55-cents-per-hour increase the first year, 50 cents the second year and 50 cents the third year. AFSCME members will receive a $1 per hour increase the first year, 75 cents the second year and 25 cents the third year.

He said the fire union, which ratified its three-year contract previously, approved a contract granting a 55-cents-per-hour bump the first year, and 40 cents per hour the second and third years.

Lambert said firefighters received a $1.35 per hour increase, police officers received $1.55 per hour and AFSCME received $2 per hour over the life of the three-year contracts.

Lambert said one change in insurance coverage is that if an employee’s spouse can get health insurance from where they work, they are asked to do that by April 1.

He said negotiations went well with the employees.

The police captain’s union contract is up in 2020, Lambert said.

In other business, council gave first reading for the proposed new disbursement of funds from the automated speed enforcement cameras.

Lambert said the current distribution of the camera funds is 50 percent to the general fund, 25 percent to streets, 20 percent to capital improvements and 5 percent to recreation.

Being proposed is 57 percent to the general fund, 30 percent to streets and 13 percent to capital improvements and safety.

Also, Councilman-at-Large William Ryser said the building and grounds committee is looking at making improvements at the parks and cemeteries and also at the city gymnasium.

Council approved seeking requests of qualifications for professional architectural and engineering services for the gymnasium improvement project. The gymnasium was constructed in the 1930s.

Mayor James Melfi said it is a rarity today for any city building to still have a community gymnasium. The facility is used by many groups for volleyball, basketball, walking and other community events.

Needed work includes fixing a leaking roof, repairing plaster and paint, refinishing the floor and getting more natural light back in the gym.

Auditor Sam Zirafi recommended not rushing to get a lot of projects done until it is determined that funds are available.