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Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 11:05 pm

Letter to the Editor

Dec. 11, 2012

To the editor:

Three very sensible ordinances will be before the assembly Thursday.

The first codifies monetary policies and goals for the administration to pursue in labor negotiations: 1. Reward superior employees with merit pay increases in lieu of increases based on longevity. 2. Maintain fair and reasonable employee premium contributions and deductibles in medical insurance, comparable to other public-sector employers. 3. Maintain fiscal stability by controlling escalating costs and provide for future reopeners if funding sources are negatively impacted or costs significantly increase. 4. Limit leave and holidays to reasonable levels. 5. Seek consistency between bargaining units, as well as between union and non-union employees. 6. Eliminate and avoid contract provisions for complex pay premiums, work rules that reduce productivity or other terms that impede accountability.

One would hope that is exactly what the administration is already trying to do, but we have no way of knowing. Hence the second ordinance, which would require that “ ... all substantive negotiations shall be open to the public.”

These two ordinances will, at the very least, reduce public animosity toward borough employees.

The third will reclassify department heads as “appointed” employees. Some will argue that this opens the door to cronyism, because department directors will serve at the pleasure of the mayor. I suppose there is that risk, but the mayor has to be allowed to pick his management team if we reasonably expect to hold him accountable for his performance.

My hat’s off to assembly members Howard and Dukes for introducing these ordinances.

Mike Prax

North Pole

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