Fire union pact, ballpark naming agreement recommended

The city Finance Committee Tuesday gave a positive recommendations to a city fire union contract and a $150,000 naming rights agreement with Susquehanna Bank putting its name on Bowman Field starting next year for five years.

Vincent Rundio, platoon chief and president of Local 736, described the contract to reduce overall city costs on pensions and health care a “win-win,” for the firefighters and city.

The contract extension doesn’t affect present retirees or anyone employed, Rundio said. “It will affect those who are hired in 2015 and thereafter,” he said.

The contract extension avoids costly arbitration and helps the city to manage its health care costs. The contract calls for no salary increases in 2015, 2.5 percent increases in 2016 and 2017 and 3 percent increases in 2018 and 2019.

If an employee in 2015 has a spouse or family he or she must contribute 20 percent of the premium for the first year, 15 percent for the second year, 10 percent in the third year, 5 percent in the fourth year and nothing in the fifth year.

“It affects only new hires,” Rundio said.

Councilman Jonathan Williamson, committee chairman, congratulated the union and administration for helping the city finances be more sustainable over the long run.

Next year begins a new naming era for 87-year-old Bowman Field. Susquehanna Bank is paying the city $30,000 a year over the next five years for the rights to call the ballfield Susquehanna Bank Park at Bowman Field. Signs will be on the exterior of the park, including the roof, West Fourth Street entrance and in the outfield.

The bank is willing to spend between $300,000 and $450,000 on the various types of signs, according to Mayor Gabriel J. Campana. One of those, a digital sign, may be used for advertising other city events, he said.

The naming rights contract was moved forward by former Harrisburg Mayor Stephen Reed who charged nothing for his services, Campana said.

The two contracts will be forwarded to the full body of City Council for a vote on Thursday night.