Solon Council Approves Interim Agreement with Service Department Union – cleveland.com | Episode Movies

SOLON, Ohio – The city council has authorized Mayor Ed Kraus to enter into an interim collective agreement with the city’s newly formed service union.

The council passed the ordinance on Monday (November 21) because collective bargaining for a collective agreement between the city and the union is ongoing.

This law allows service department employees to receive the 2.25 percent wage increase effective Jan. 1 that was negotiated with other bargaining units in the city this year — although the city has taken the position that it is not obligated to do so.

The interim agreement will be in place pending the completion of a full and final collective bargaining agreement between the city and the union.

The city’s Justice Director, Thomas Lobe, told the council in July that the city’s service department had voted to form a union.

In August, the council authorized the Cleveland law firm Zashin & Rich to represent the city in labor negotiations with the newly formed union.

Under the terms of this Interim Agreement, for the 2022-23 snow and ice plowing season — which runs December 3 through April 16 — Tariff Unit employees assigned to mandatory snow and ice plowing services will pay $7 per hour per call.

In addition, in recognition of the “good faith” discussions that led to the interim agreement, the union will support and encourage full participation by all members of the bargaining unit in offered overtime for leaf and shrub collection for the remainder of this year.

“I am pleased that the service department is negotiating with the union and the city,” said Jeremy Zelwin, Ward 3 councillor. “I just want to say that this is a good intention from the city in our negotiations with the union.

“Until this contract is in place, I also encourage the service department to act in good faith.”

Cameras approved for the police

In another measure, the council approved the purchase of 15 dashcams and 33 bodycams from Motorola Solutions Inc. for use by the Solon Police Department through the Sourcewell Cooperative Purchasing Program at a cost of $268,385.

At the request of the police department, the city council waived the bidding process to allow Motorola to order the requested equipment before the end of this year.

On November 14, the Council’s Safety and Public Property Committee recommended that the Council accept Motorola’s bid for the dash and body cameras.

Police Chief Richard Tonelli told the committee that the police department was approved a few years ago to replace its dash and body camera system in 2023.

He noted that the department maintains 15 dash cam video systems in its fleet of patrol vehicles and 25 body cameras. Those systems are no longer warrantied or supported by WatchGuard, the company the department has used for those devices for years, he said.

“The outdated software in our current system crashed a few months ago, resulting in the loss of valuable data, and several body cameras are inoperable due to end-of-life issues,” he said.

“I request that pending the approved budget for these purchases in 2023, Motorola be allowed to order these now due to the long shipping delays.”

Tonelli said his department did research to determine which camera system was most beneficial and identified Motorola, which acquired WatchGuard in 2019.

The department was trying to increase the number of body cameras from 25 to 33 to accommodate staffing issues, he said.

Motorola’s offering includes a five-year extended warranty, Tonelli said.

More clarity about new position

Also on Monday, the Council passed its regulations relating to the fund’s general operating budget and next year’s capital budget on first reading, as requested by Treasury Director Matt Rubino.

However, Kraus said he wanted to clarify some comments he made at the council’s budget hearing on Nov. 14 regarding the proposed full-time communications coordinator position for 2023.

“I don’t think I gave the best answers (to the council’s questions about the position) and I don’t think I answered all of the questions,” he said.

Council members had raised some concerns at the budget hearing about the new position as to why it was necessary. They also asked for more information about a job description.

Kraus said the new coordinator will report to him in the mayor’s office and that the creation of the new position doesn’t mean the city has had any disagreements with the Impact Group, the consultant the city has hired for marketing and communications .

“In fact, I just want to say that I really enjoyed working with Impact Group; I think it’s been years now,” he said.

Kraus said Maria Farley, the mayor’s assistant, and Angee Shaker, the city’s economic development director, work primarily with the Impact Group, which he added has done a “great job.”

“They’ve really helped us in so many different areas,” he said. “I think back to the work they did with Angee on the (city) logo, on the branding; there was a lot of work involved.

“They did several surveys that we did in the community. So it has nothing to do with the quality of the Impact Group’s work. I think we were all very happy with the work internally.”

But this new position, Kraus said, is an opportunity for the city to hire a full-time employee instead of a consultant to handle day-to-day communications.

“It’s going to be really an integrated position with all departments,” he said. “(Instead of) probably 14 different communication strategies (from the different departments) this person will be responsible for really one coordinated effort internally, obviously working with each department.

“I think the priority for me will be customer service and PR for the community. It’s not that we don’t, but (that would be) an integrated strategic planning effort by a responsible person – their full-time job will be communications.

“I think we have a great story to tell, and obviously it’s going to be that person’s job to tell that story,” Kraus continued.

“I also think it’s a more disciplined approach to communication from my perspective. I think we need to be more organized when it comes to our communications strategy, our social media policies and all the other things that we do.”

Kraus said the city will retain Impact Group’s services until the new employee is hired. He added that it could take time “to find a qualified person”.

The recommended salary for the communications coordinator is $54,000 per year.

The city pays Impact Group $48,000 a year for its services.

Park plan discussed

Zelwin, chairman of the council’s finance committee, also made some comments Monday on the 2023 capital budget, which was being discussed by the council at another budget hearing on Nov. 15.

“There are many things in the budget for the coming years, particularly some much-needed investments in (Solon) Community Park,” he said.

“I am very motivated to create a comprehensive plan to get the park coordinated and organized as soon as possible.”

Rubino told the city council’s finance committee on Nov. 15 that the city had decided to use a “design-build approach” when building the park next year.

As a result, the city revised its 2023 capital improvement plan by reducing its investment in the park from $3.6 million to $500,000 for next year.

Major park projects planned for 2023 will be postponed by a year, Rubino said. No construction is planned in the park for next year.

The $500,000 will be used for the design phase of the park’s master plan, Rubino said. This design work is expected to begin in the first half of next year.

“I think as we’re doing (the design-build study), when we’re looking at financial feasibility options, I think it’s also important that we consider what the right amount of investment is for the city to have it.” doesn’t hold us for long, but that it offers the best possible solution for our residents and modernizes them so that we can compete locally with other cities,” said Zelwin.

With construction of the park being postponed, the revised capital plan now includes $16.3 million for community park improvements through 2026, Rubino had said.

The second reading of both budget regulations is scheduled for December 5th, the third reading and adoption of both budgets for December 19th.

Permanent appropriations would take effect on January 1 if approved by Council on December 19.

Read more from the Trouble Solon Sun.

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