|Council Approves Police Pay Raises|
|Written by Nancy Bowman|
|Tuesday, 12 June 2012 07:27|
New three-year contracts with police patrol officers and sergeants, including 2 percent pay increases annually, were approved unanimously Monday by Tipp City Council.
The council also approved several items involving the construction of the $270 million Abbott Labs liquid nutrition drinks plant and recognized two Emergency Medical Services (EMS) members.
It also heard from Councilman Joe Gibson that he will propose that council initiate investigations, as first requested by city resident Scott Brownlee. Brownlee asked council to look into business dealings and taxes owed by Council President John Kessler and how the city tax department handled taxes owed by a now closed business with which he was associated.
The Police Patrolmen’s Group and the Police Sergeants Group, Fraternal Order of Police, have ratified the contracts with the officers and sergeants, City Manager Jon Crusey said.
The agreements are effective retroactive to April 21. In addition to the pay increases, other contract changes include an increase from 20 cents to 30 cents per hour in the shift differential for second shift and an increase from $35,000 to $50,000 in the term life insurance policy provided at no cost to the employee.
The reimbursement for approved education courses will be 100 percent for an A or B instead of 100 percent for an A and 85 percent for a B. Prior approval by the employer will be subject to the department’s annual appropriations.
Ordinances and resolutions approved that involved the Abbott Project included:
In another Abbott project-related vote, council approved a motion establishing the value of right of way for Abbott Park Way (3.6 acres) and 0.656 acres abutting Kerr Road donated by the owners of the Interstate Crossings Business Park. The value of the 4.276 acres is listed as $160,350, which will be noted on IRS forms for noncash charitable contributions for owners Lesher Farms Ltd. ($120,262.50) and Marilyn Richards ($40,087.50).
In other business, EMS Chief Mark Senseman and Mayor Dee Gillis presented commendations for 20 years of service to Jeff Callicoat and Brenda Holfinger.
The council approved the appointment of Brent Rawlins to the Planning Board and Peter Berbach to the Restoration and Architectural Board.
The annual city/Monroe Township fireworks agreement was approved by a 6-1 vote. The cost for this year’s show increased 3 percent to $15,450.
The city will pay $9,270 and the township will pay $6,180. Councilman Bryan Budding voted no saying, as he has in past years, that he believes the government should be involved only in paying for safety and infrastructure. He said he is not against the fireworks, but thinks they should be paid for in another way, such as donations.
GIBSON TO REQUEST COUNCIL INVESTIGATION
In comments, Gibson said he would have proposed legislation for the requested investigations for council to consider June 4. “There are questions sufficient enough that in my view need to be answered publicly,” he said, adding citizen requests for answers have failed. “I do think that the issues merit further inquiry.”
City Law Director David Caldwell has issued opinions that a charter section cited in Brownlee’s request is inapplicable and council has “no authority to investigate any alleged individual actions of Mr. Kessler.”
Caldwell issued a second opinion saying council could, if it chooses, investigate the tax department.
Gibson said after Monday’s meeting that he would submit legislation requesting investigations of both issues. “I want this resolved,” he said.
KESSLER EXPLAINS WHAT A GIRL WANTS VOTE
In comments, Kessler followed up on his comment at the May 7 meeting when he said he would later address his position on closing of Main Street on May 4 for the What a Girl Wants fundraiser for breast cancer.
During public comments May 7 council was criticized for not giving 100 percent support to the request to close the street. Council did not approve a request to close at 11 a.m. but did approve, with a vote of 5-2, closing at 3 p.m. that day.
Kessler said he was concerned about the overall safety of residents throughout the city May 4, which also was an annual community wide garage sale.
He said he wanted to thank the What a Girl Wants organizers for waiting until 3 p.m. to close the street, and to congratulate them on the success of the event.