Bonuses, spending of American Rescue Plan cash, stay sticking level in new Mayfield Heights union contracts

MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio – The city council did not approve a new contract for the service department on Monday, July 12th, but like previous union deals that also received no approval from the council this year, it will come into effect soon.

The council voted 3-3 (with Council President Diane Snider abstaining because her husband is a police officer) in the vote on the service contract. As negotiated by the city and the departmental union, the new contract provides for a salary increase of 2.5 percent and a one-off bonus in each of the three years (starting retroactively in January). The bonus is 4 percent of each employee’s salaries in 2020. The contract is similar to the contracts signed by police and fire service unions earlier this year. Traditionally, non-union city workers in Mayfield Heights receive the same raise as union workers.

Although the council did not approve the contract approved by the administration, state law provides that the contract with the service department will come into effect within 30 days of the contract being signed.

As it was the fall in May With the contracts for police and fire brigade, city councilor Gayle Teresi was supported by councilors Robert DeJohn and Donald Manno against the service contract. The service department contract is the last to be billed.

“We’re all in favor of everyone getting a raise,” Teresi said when she was contacted on July 15. “Our service department, our fire brigade and our police are great – we are not taking that away. It’s just that when we (council and administration) spoke at the beginning, just before the contracts were approved, it said (workers) would get a lump sum and it came back 2.5 (percent) and a lump sum every year . That wasn’t what we talked about, we either talked about it, or we did.

“If you make $ 80,000 (per year) you will make $ 3,200 more,” she said of the bonus. “But our directors make more than $ 80,000. Some make $ 120,000 or more. “

The city expects $ 1.8 million this year and the same amount as its share of the federal rescue plan (ARP) in 2022. Mayor Anthony DiCicco said the bonus money will be paid thanks to city workers who continued to work during the pandemic. The ARP money can be used to pay for the bonuses that DiCicco said will total around $ 350,000. The bonuses, he said, are only paid once.

Instead of spending the money on bonuses, Teresi would like to see the money spent to help the residents.

“There are many elderly (residents) with permanent home incomes who cannot fix the driveway if they are cited by the building authorities,” she said. “You can’t put a new roof on. You’re from Social Security. They just don’t have the money so why don’t we help them? Let’s just do something for the residents and give our employees 2.5 percent for three years. “

Teresi said it would also help the city help residents modernize their homes.

“And when that elderly person is gone – moves, sold, dies, God forbid – their house would be in better shape to be sold.”

Speaking of the city’s desire to use the ARP money for bonuses, she said, “It’s like a kid in a candy store – you know you get this (ARP) money, so we’ll just spend it.”

The July 12 meeting included residents from Marnell Avenue ask the city for help with their flooded basements. A problem that residents have been discussing with the city administration for several years.

“These people came to the meeting (to make complaints),” Teresi said. “One woman spent $ 63,000 keeping water out of her basement. She waterproofed her entire house. We made Dye testing last March and by now (the city) should have figured it out (flooding problems). So let’s do something for the residents. It’s (ARP) free money, ”Teresi said.

“Let’s take something from the plate. Let’s help the elderly. Let’s help our housing stock or our own home. Let’s fix the sewers. These people cannot sell their houses. Some of them, their insurance company, are no longer taking damage because they have had so many claims. ”Teresi said there are other homes in the area that have also been hit by floods, including those on Ascot and Bellingham streets.

Regarding spending the ARP money, DiCicco said, “We’re still talking about what we’re going to do with it. The sewers, we’ve got to find out what’s going on with the sewers over there. Dan Gerson, our city engineer, found some leaks between the rainwater and the sewer system during the main paint tests. So something needs to be fixed.

“I think it was about $ 300,000 worth of repairs. It’s good. We’ll go ahead and do this, but testing still needs to be done to find out exactly what needs to be done before we invest any money. We intend to fix whatever we find there. This (ARP) money can be used for this. “

DiCicco went on to say that the cash for the employee bonuses can come from the ARP fund or from the city’s general fund.

“We also have money to fix the sewer problems. It’s just a matter of figuring out what needs to be done. It’s not like you can’t do one thing and can’t do the other. We are in a sufficiently good position to carry out the (sewer) repairs and still take care of our employees. “

In other news

More news from the July 12th Council meeting:

– A request for acceptance of bids for Asphalting the entire Woodhawk Drive stayed on the table. DiCicco said it is still unclear whether the surface renewal will happen this year.

– During a full committee meeting on July 12th, the advice was heard from representatives from LevelHEADS Inc., an architectural firm that is working with the urban engineer GPD Group in hiring a site manager for the upcoming community center / pool project on Marsolstrasse. A very early concept of a plan was shown to the council.

“This is a very preliminary (rendering) that we saw,” DiCicco said. “They showed us what they can do. The building may not look like this when it’s built. But I liked the overall layout because the buildings are between the freeway (I-271) and the pool to shield (the pool) from the freeway.

“I think the general layout will stay the same, but now that we have chosen a site manager and set the budgets, we need to know exactly what the building will look like and what amenities we want. ”

The plan is now to demolish the current community center and build the new one a little further west on today’s parking lot. It is not yet known whether the new community center will be a story or two high.

– There were also points for planning and building Sheetz and Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers on the Mayland Shopping Center site, which is currently being redeveloped on Mayfield Road.

“They were filed because they both need parking exemptions from the Board of Zoning Appeals,” DiCicco said. “I think it would be better if you go to the zoning board of appeal first so they can make a decision and then the council can act.”

Both companies, DiCicco said, are definitely coming to Mayland. In the case of Sheetz, a gas station that also includes a grocery store and a coffee / sandwich shop, plans have been changed so that the gas pumps cannot be seen from Mayfield Road, but located behind, at the request of local residents the building.

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Mayfield Heights considers utilizing American Rescue Plan cash to offer bonuses to metropolis workers who labored throughout pandemic: Stimulus Watch

MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio – A proposal to use federal stimulidollars to provide 4,000 bonuses to Mayfield Heights police officers and firefighters has turned into a potential bonus to all municipal and administrative employees deemed “material” and during the Pandemic worked.

City officials don’t have the money to spend. In fact, they haven’t even been told exactly how much money the city will receive from the American bailout plan over two years. But Estimates from cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer state Mayfield Heights could receive about $ 1.9 million in total.

Finance director Karen Fegan said the city is still considering how to spend its money. However, she confirmed that the proposal to provide bonuses to “all key workers” is being examined. She did not specify which positions are considered important or how many employees it involves, so it is unclear how much bonuses could be paid.

The city initially considered giving $ 4,000 in bonuses paid with American Rescue Plan money only to first responders, in addition to incremental pay increases – paid out of the city’s budget – as in collective agreements with unions, the police, and fire departments and other workers represented, negotiated.

Council members voted on the ordinances to sign the collective agreements during a meeting on May 24, partly due to disagreement over the bonuses and which city servants should receive them. Legislation empowering the mayor to approve the union contracts is back on the council’s agenda on Monday, but it’s unclear whether the agreements include bonuses.

“We talked about a lump sum instead of a percentage every year,” Councilor Gayle Teresi said at the May meeting. “We didn’t know there would be a lump sum and a percentage.”

Teresi said she is in favor of a raise for first responders given their necessary and 24/7 work during the pandemic. However, she was concerned about giving a bonus on top of the raise – especially since she heard city workers say that all employees who worked during the pandemic would receive a bonus, which would be paid in stimulus money.

“Someone who worked at City Hall called and told me everyone was getting a $ 4,000 bonus,” Teresi said. After the meeting, Teresi told a reporter that non-union city workers typically receive a similar raise to union workers, so she wondered who else could get a $ 4,000 bonus.

“Did the mayor (Anthony DiCicco) get it? Will (Finance Director) Ms. Fegan get it? How about some advice? We were there (work and hold meetings) during COVID, “Teresi said a freelancer for Sun Messenger, a sister publication of cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer.

The US Treasury Department has issued guidelines on how local governments can use their American Rescue Plan dollars. One of the proposals is to “provide premium wages for key workers to provide additional support to those who, as a result of their services in critical infrastructure sectors, face and will bear the greatest health risks”.

“I’m in favor of everyone getting a raise, especially the police and fire departments,” Councilor Robert DeJohn said during the May 24 session. “Here’s my problem: as soon as these two units get their raise, they get everyone else in town – everyone else, including the administrative staff. You will all get this lump sum up to the time you raise your salary. “

Councilor Donald Manno joined DeJohn and Teresi in May against the collective agreements. He said council members should receive a raise or bonus for signing raises for other employees.

“Mr. DeJohn said everyone in town gets the raise,” Manno said. “The council doesn’t get it, but we have to sign it for everyone else. We worked through COVID too – not the same way. But fact If you say that everyone in town hall gets a raise or a bonus, what about the advice? Are we stepchildren? Or what’s going on here? “

Finance director Fegan said compensation to the mayor and council will be determined by a regulation that includes a “nested” calculation based on factors such as increases in the general fund and the consumer price index for the previous year. But her statement didn’t seem to deter councilors hoping for a bonus or raise from the money from the American bailout.

Councilor Michael Ballistrea said he did not know why some of his colleagues were confused. He said notes he took during an earlier meeting suggested Fegan said some of the American bailout money would “most likely” be used for bonuses.

“So that was checked and it was always on the table that this should be done as far as I was concerned,” Ballistrea said.

Stimulus Watch is a public service journalism project run by cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer to track federal grants reaching Northeast Ohio through the US rescue plan. Read more undercleveland.com/stimulus-watch.

Kemp indicators Georgia’s midyear finances with bonuses, more money for faculties, well being

Kemp announced the same rewards for Georgia’s public school teachers last month.

Both bonuses are paid – directly or indirectly – from the federal COVID-19 aid fund.

The biggest spike in spending would be in education, where the House and Senate followed Kemp’s proposal to replenish 60% of the spending cuts approved by lawmakers last year. if they cut 10% over fears that government revenues could decline due to the pandemic.

That didn’t happen. Indeed, state tax collections rose by 6.3% in the first seven months of this fiscal year.

Kemp said the increase in school spending “sends a clear message that we are continuing our dedication to Georgia students, parents, educators, and employees through the toughest times.”

The budget will also fund 520 new school buses, increase support for nursing homes hard hit by COVID-19, and add high-speed internet in rural areas.

It will spend $ 27 million on rapidly upgrading the Department of Health’s computer system that tracks vaccinations and paid for the hiring of several new employees at the agency that spent most of the past year fighting COVID-19.