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Imposed firefighter contract includes 12% cut in pay, benefits

City calls it ‘last, best and final’ offer
By: Michelle Miller-Carl Journal News Editor
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After months of negotiations, the city of Auburn has implemented a contract with the Auburn Firefighters Association that will result in a 12 percent loss in pay and benefits. Firefighters and their family members packed the council chambers Monday night to watch the council unanimously approve the city’s “last, best and final” offer to firefighters. The association has been in negotiations with the city since March and a mediator has determined negotiations to be at an impasse. The firefighters’ previous contract expired June 30. “We have made every effort we could to reach an agreement with them,” Mayor Mike Holmes said at Monday’s meeting. “The negotiator has not proposed anything new, we’re waiting. If something new is put on the table we will take a look at it.” The association has recently retained Reed and Associates to represent it. Richard A. Reed said Monday night that he has sent two letters to the city requesting further conference. “Auburn city has decided they do not want to meet with us,” he said. The city’s offer includes up to a 3.15 percent reduction in base salary and 9 percent of the employee’s PERS contribution. The city’s offer states the pay and benefits would be restored if the city’s economic situation improves. No layoffs would occur while this plan is in place. In other business Monday, the council heard a status report from Councilmembers Kevin Hanley and Bill Kirby on the city’s 14 commissions and committees. The report, requested by Holmes, was to evaluate and update the groups’ missions and practices. “I attended a number of meetings for a number of these groups and they seem a little disorganized and did not understand the rules for how a meeting is to be conducted,” Kirby said. Among the recommendations for these commissions were that they: -Receive a summary of meeting guidelines including information on the Brown Act and ethics. -Rotate the chair position on a yearly basis -Make biannual reports to the council -Provide minutes to city council -Operate on an annual budget cycle The report was given to staff and will be put forth for action at a future council meeting. Michelle Miller-Carl can be reached at michellem@goldcountrymedia.com. ----------------------------------- Auburn City Council In other business Monday, the Auburn City Council: • Authorized participation in the 2009 Proposition 1A Securitization Program, allowing the city to receive upfront in cash the $353,000 in property tax money withheld by the state to balance its budget. • Appointed vacancies on the Auburn Arts Commission to Brian Jagger, Aloha Baumgarten, Mary Beauchamp, Marti Niles and Randy Mealhow. Councilman Bill Kirby cast a dissenting vote on Baumgarten and Beauchamp because they were not Auburn citizens. • (Acting as the Auburn Urban Development Authority) approved the three remaining members to the Streetscape History and Art Advisory Committee. Restaurant owner Ty Rowe will represent the Old Town Business Association; Business owner Harvey Roper will represent the Auburn Endurance Capital Committee; and Marti Niles will represent the Auburn Arts Commission.