Tuesday, January 25, 2000

Mason Council OKs police deal

Finance clerk added because of growth

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MASON — City Council on Monday unanimously approved a three-year contract for the police department that grants raises of 4 percent to 4.5 percent over the term of the agreement.

        “We feel we have an agreement we can all live with, given the situation,” said Sgt. Paul Lindenschmidt, a representative of the sergeants' bargaining unit of the Mason Fraternal Order of Police.

        Assistant City Manager Eric Hansen said the new pact will raise the salary of officers by 4 percent in 2000, 4.5 percent in 2001 and 4.5 percent in 2002. The wage increases for this year will be retroactive to Aug. 1, 1999.

        Other contract provisions include the transition to an accrual system of vacation and yearly anniversary pay increases between 4 percent and 7 percent for officers during their first five years with the city.

        “We have a great police department, and it is sometimes difficult to let them know how much we appreciate them,” said Mason Mayor John McCurley. “And while salaries are a part of that, I don't think dollars and cents are the complete package here.”

        City leaders had been in negotiations with the Ohio La bor Council FOP, which represents 26 officers in the Mason Police Department, for five months.

        “It's been a long, drawn-out process, and we're just glad it's over with,” said Detective Don Cope, a representative of the patrol officers' bargaining unit of the Mason FOP. “It's not everything we wanted, but we got an acceptable deal.”

        In other business, Council approved the creation of a finance clerk's position to help lighten the workload in the city's finance department. City Manager Scot Lahrmer said increases in personnel during the past year, namely 100 employees of the city's new fire department, have placed tremendous stress on payroll operations.

        The finance clerk's duties will include payroll, accounts payable, tax and utility billing work. The position will pay $8-$13 an hour.

        Plans for widening Tylersville Road and extending it from U.S. 42 to Kings Island Drive moved forward Monday. Council adopted plans for the road improvement and requested that the Ohio Department of Transportation proceed with the project.

        The ordinance also pays ODOT $1.9 million, the city's share of the $7.5 million project.

        The 2.7-mile-long project begins at U.S. 42 and ends between Interstate 71 and Kings Island Drive.

        Construction includes two lanes in each direction with turn lanes at the major intersections, a bike path on the north side, and a sidewalk on the south side. Construction is to start in May.


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