City makes counter-offer to employee group

Friday, November 19, 2021

LE MARS — The City of Le Mars presented its initial bargaining proposal response to the Le Mars City Employees Bargaining Unit on Nov. 17.

The employees had brought their initial proposal to the city’s bargaining team on Nov. 15.

The negotiations cover a new agreement between the city and employees which will begin July 1, 2022.

City Administrator Jason Vacura said the bargaining unit went to full council Tuesday to talk about the employees unit initial proposal.

“The initial overall sentiment to it was to reject the whole thing, and have the bargaining unit come back with with some proposals. But with further discussion, we came up with what you have in your hand,” he said.

Vacura then presented the City’s response to City Employees Bargaining Unit chief negotiator Jeff Kramer. Also present were council member Mike Donlin, City Finance Director Jacob Widman and Mayor Dick Kirchoff.

Under Article 3: Section A. Duration of Agreement, the Le Mars City Employees Bargaining Unit’s proposal of a one (1) year contract is rejected by the city.

The City’s bargaining team proposes a two-year contract to run from July 1, 2022 to June 30, 2024.

The City’s team also rejected the employees bargaining unit proposal of eliminating base pay from the wage schedule.

The City proposes that Step 1 becomes the new base pay.

In response to the employees bargaining unit’s proposal of eliminating the first wage schedule for Patrolman is rejected.

The City’s proposal is that Step 1 becomes the new base pay.

The City also rejected the employees bargaining unit’s proposal of a wage adjustment of $3/hr. increase in the wage schedule for police officers and other city employees. That would amount to an 8 percent increase for police officers and other city employees.

The City proposes a 2.5 percent increase the first year of the contract; and a 2.5 percent increase the second year of the contract.

The employees bargaining unit’s proposal of raising longevity pay 5.7 percent is rejected by the City as it is not negotiable per Iowa Code Chapter 20.

The proposal to Salary Schedule Advancement Procedure for Police Employees is rejected, as the City noted the Le Mars City Employees Bargaining Unit’s proposal does not appear to be a change of the current contract wording, according to Vacura.

The City rejected the employees bargaining unit proposal to have the salary schedule Step I be as level as hiring date, and instead proposes Base Pay is the level at hiring, followed by a three step schedule, Step I - 25-36 months; Step II - 36-48 months; and Step III - 48 months+.

The City bargaining team proposes to remove the following terms from the Wage Schedule: “Taxi Driver,” “Custodian,” “Assistant Library Director,” “Building Inspector,” “Construction Inspector,” “Draftsperson/Inspector,” “Draftsperson,” “Assistant to the City Engineer,” “Engineering Cad Manager,” “Engineering Technician,” “Meter Reader,” and “Paramedic.”

The City proposes to add “Firefighter/Paramedic” to the Wage Schedule.

This is a “cleaning up” of job titles, according to Vacura.

The two groups will look at meeting early in the week of Nov. 29 to come together.

Kramer indicated he felt the agreement could be finalized in a short period of time.

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