Don’t drop talks to hike pay for city codes workers

Williamsport Mayor Gabriel J. Campana says that City Council President Bill Hall’s plan introduced during recent budget talks to transfer $71,000 into an account to bolster salaries of codes employees and double the department’s size could have caused an unfair labor practices lawsuit.

That’s because the city has a collective bargaining agreement with City Hall workers and can’t change contract terms without the union’s consent, according to the city solicitor.

We’re all for avoiding lawsuits.

But we hope the administration doesn’t consider this a legitimate, long-term reason for not addressing the proposal.

The administration and council are asking more of the codes department than ever before. The department is being asked to be the pressure point for enforcing a new rental registry ordinance, enforcing codes laws more stringently, issuing citations and cracking down on unwanted transient renters.

Adding two more codes employees – which was done in the new budget – is a start, but increasing pay for department workers also is a valid consideration.

If that means reopening the collective bargaining agreement with affected City Hall workers, fine.

But just rationalizing paying the workers more would have caused a lawsuit and using that as the reason for not exploring the issue doesn’t make sense.

Unless, of course, there is some other reason for not wanting to talk about someone else’s proposal to created a stronger, more effective codes department.