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Salary cuts OK’d

Bargaining groups agree to 5 percent pay and benefit reductions
By: Megan Wood The Press Tribune
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An agreement between the Roseville city council and several city bargaining groups Tuesday will save the city an estimated $2.6 million after reopening their contracts in search of compensation concessions. It was determined by city staff that, in order to balance the 2010 budget, $6.75 million would be reduced from the city’s labor expenses. Half of the reductions were made earlier this year through reductions in force and early retirement incentives, said Roseville Treasurer Russ Branson. The other half would come from a 5 percent compensation take from each of the six city bargaining groups. Although the reductions were accounted for in the budget document that passed last month, the process of reopening bargaining groups’ contracts won’t be finalized until October. “Each of the bargaining groups were given flexibility to achieve the concessions,” said Stacey Haney, Roseville’s human resources manager. “These were difficult discussions and difficult decisions for everyone involved.” The Roseville Firefighters Association agreed to cut half of members’ allotted holidays, forfeited the city’s contribution to their retirement compensation and reduced their medical premiums totaling a $600,000 annual savings to Roseville’s general fund. The $1.7 million savings from management confidential employees came from eliminating retirement compensation, a reduction in management leave payout by 60 percent as well as a 5 percent reduction in medical compensation. “The truth is that management’s package is 6 percent reduced compensation,” said City Manager Craig Robinson. “The concessions will be different for each employee but to the city’s fund it’s the same. The task was to find 5 percent from each bargaining group.” Despite negotiations, an agreement between the city and the Roseville Police Association could not be made and council imposed a 5 percent reduction in the group’s base salary. The total savings to the city’s general fund from the imposed reduction is about $244,000. Former council member Richard Roccucci spoke against the reduction agreement made by management confidential stating the concessions made through administrative leave were unfair and should be taken from management’s salary. “The task at hand was to find 5 percent from each bargaining group,” Robinson said. “The impact will be different for each employee based on their agreements and to say that one reduction is any more or less important than another is simply not valid.” Roseville resident Phil Ozenik also spoke out against the city manager’s salary and said the concessions required by the RFA and RPA were unfair compared to concessions made by management. “You have to understand how hard this has been for everyone, and me personally,” Robinson said. “I would give up my job in a heartbeat if someone felt they could do a better job.” In addition to 5 percent reductions, each contract also included two 3 percent pay increases in 2011. Councilman John Allard disagreed with the rate increases arguing that because the economic climate is so volatile, promising 6 percent raises for bargaining groups might jeopardize the city’s fiscal flexibility. The newly amended contracts will be in effect until December 2011. Council will vote on the remaining bargaining group’s contracts later this month.