Some Middletown police employees get raises, bonuses with new contract

As the community continues to stay at home as a precaution against COVID-19, Middletown City Council held its first virtual meeting in the city’s history last week.

Council members are required by the city charter to meet twice a month and were able to meet to conduct the city’s business remotely after the Ohio General Assembly temporarily amended the state’s open meetings act or “Sunshine Law” due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents were able to watch the April 7 meeting via Facebook Live in real time and on You Tube following the meeting.

Among the items council addressed:

Approval of a new three-year contract with civilian police employees

The city and the Fraternal Order of Police/Ohio Labor Council have been negotiating a new contract since last fall as the previous contract expired on Dec. 31, 2019.

The new contract is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2020 and expires Dec. 31, 2022.

Acting City Manager Susan Cohen said the new contract is similar to other collective bargaining contracts that have recently been approved.

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Among the new provisions are a 2.5 percent wage increase for each year of the contract; a one-time lump sum signing bonus of $500; a new 12-step wage scale for employees hired after March 1, 2020; four hours of compensatory time per calendar year for being assigned to work the job of another for short periods of time; a uniform allowance increase from $300 to $1,000; bereavement leave modified to be consistent with other bargaining units; and vacation credit was increased slightly to match the amounts for current non-union employees that receive vacation.

Cohen said the contract is consistent with the 2020 budget and the additional cost to the city will be $2,500 for the signing bonus and $3,500 a year for the increased uniform allowance.

Sewer line repair contract approval

Council approved an emergency ordinance to repair a section of the North Interceptor Sewer that partially collapsed on March 2 adjacent to hole number 2 at Forest Hills Country Club near vicinity of Second Avenue and Carmody Boulevard. The project will be done on a time and materials basis for an amount not to exceed $1 million.

Cohen said the 48-inch corrugated metal pipe was installed in 1958 and serves a large portion of central and north Middletown. She said bypass pumping will be needed to make the repair and that staff is recommending the replacement of 875 feet of pipe instead of doing a spot repair. Cohen said the pipe was the next one on the city’s list to repair and will count towards the requirements of the city’s consent decree with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

She said repair should take four to five weeks to complete, weather permitting. The repair project will have limited impact on the general public, but will require a portion of the Great Miami River Trail to be closed for construction.

Mayor Nicole Condrey said she recently met with Miami Conservancy District officials about a nearby levee that needs improvements and asked if both projects could be done simultaneously.

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