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Published: 5/25/2011

Command officers' pact restored by Toledo council

BY TYREL LINKHORN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Councilman Joe McNamara said he did not feel the city’s financial situation has improved enough to declare an end to the exigent circumstances. Councilman Joe McNamara said he did not feel the city’s financial situation has improved enough to declare an end to the exigent circumstances.
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Toledo City Council voted Tuesday in a special meeting to restore the contract for the union that represents Toledo Police command officers, a little shy of 14 months after it imposed the concessions because of “exigent circumstances.”

The 9-1 vote to restore the Toledo Police Command Officers’ Association contract — a move which Mayor Mike Bell announced May 18 he intended to do — means the city will again pick up the full 10 percent employee share of the members’ pension contribution for 2011 and reduce the amount members were contributing to their health-care coverage.

Councilman Tom Waniewski cast the only “no” vote. Councilors Adam Martinez and Lindsay Webb were not present at the meeting.

Discussion was scant before the vote. Although he voted in favor of the measure, Councilman Joe McNamara said he did not feel the city’s financial situation has improved enough to declare an end to the exigent circumstances.

“We have a balanced budget this change will unbalance,” he said.

Paying the command officers’ pension shares will cost the city a little more than $704,000 for the rest of the year, said Steve Herwat, the city’s deputy mayor for operations. Still, Mr. Herwat said the administration believes the budget will remain balanced with the added expense.

Mr. McNamara ultimately said he would support the mayor in restoring the contract in the name of fairness.

The command officers’ union was the only group of city employees still under the concessions forced by the city in March 2010 as it faced a projected $48 million deficit. Council initially voted to force all city workers to pick up the full 10 percent employee share of their pension contribution for the remainder of the current contract. Most unions negotiated with the city after that to pay less and end the concession at the end of 2010.

Administration officials, too, have cited fairness as a reason to restore the command officers’ contract. They also say the financial circumstances no longer apply. In making its case to end the concessions last week, the administration said income tax receipts were 7 percent ahead of last year’s collection through early May.

In all, the city will pay more than $11 million in pension pickup this year. Mr. Herwat said last week the cost for the Patrolman’s Association and the Firefighters Local 92 were each well over $2 million.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at:

tlinkhorn@theblade.com

or 419-724-6134.



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