Contract reached

The city Streets and Parks Department’s union and Mayor Gabriel J. Campana have agreed on a four-year contract calling for 2 percent raises each year for the 25-member department.

The contract with AFSCME Local 2674 must first go before the city Finance Committee next week and the full body of council before it is authorized.

There are some other adjustments, such as increases of 15 cents for heavy equipment operators who obtain a class A Commercial Drivers License and mechanics tool allowances that are increased by $25, from $300 to $325.

The base rate for the in-house electrician goes from $19.78 to $20.48 per hour. The lead mechanic’s salary increases from $20.01 to $20.48.

Campana said while it was not part of the negotiation, his intention is to add another employee to the department and will ask council to authorize the reflection of the additional employee in the 2014 budget, bringing the department complement to 26.

“We had two people who retired and the positions were not filled,” Campana said during a news conference Monday morning with several union members.

Streets and Parks Department employees don’t get health care benefits with as much punch as police and fire. For instance, they don’t get health care for their spouse, according to Jim Dellomo, union president. They also aren’t eligible to retire until they are age 60 and the union members contribute about 5.5 percent out of each paycheck toward their retirement.

The majority of the time the department works from 7 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. but, during winter months or flood events, the overtime hours can increase, Dellomo said.

For example, the fire at West Fourth Street last weekend, which is a criminal homicide scene, required personnel to board up the structure, leading to extra hours of work.

Repairing street lights, too, are part of the department’s job. Segraves said the goal is to repair any lights that are out or not working properly in less than seven days. That will come in handy as the council authorized the mayor to spend $100,000 from a bond issue to improve wattage and install lights on streets throughout the city to control crime.

Campana said he was pleased with the negotiations between the union and said the city was represented by Attorney J. David Smith and Michelle Casale, human resources director. Other unions are asking for 3-percent pay increases per year, Campana said.