NEW FRANKLIN  Two departments in New Franklin, consisting of 12 full-time Fire Department employees and six full-time Service Department employees recently ratified an amended contract and a new contract respectively, with the city granting raises and changes in medical and life insurance.

For the full-time firefighters, who are members of International Association of Firefighters Local 2885, council ratified an amended contract to the collective bargaining agreement. Effective Sept. 1, 2017, full-time employees will receive a 0.5 perent increase in their respective wage rates, in addition to a 1.5 percent increase originally negotiated to take effect.

Under the amended contract, all bargaining unit employees shall receive an additional one-time payment of a lump-sum "signing bonus" of $1,500 as of the date of ratification.

"The IAFF Union had a re-opener clause due to the increases in healthcare costs," said city Finance Director Susan Cooke.  "As a part of this re-opener, the city requested employee monthly premium contributions, a $50 change in employee deductibles and a change in prescription co-pays with an additional tier for specialty drugs. The additional 0.5 percent increase and $1,500 one-time signing bonus were negotiated to secure the healthcare changes."

Also, at the Nov. 1 meeting, council ratified a one-year contract between the city and Local 348 of the Teamsters Union representing six full-time employees of the city's Service Department. The contract is effective from Oct. 1, 2017, through Aug. 31, 2018. The contract included a raise of 0.5 percent and a one-time, $1,500 signing bonus. As of Oct. 1, 2017, the following hourly wages were put into effect for the Service Department: assistant superintendent, $24.43 per hour; work leader, $23.93 per hour; and maintenance worker, $23.60 per hour.

"With the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent’s Association (OPBA) and Teamsters Local 348 contracts recently approved, all three unions now have the same timeline," said Cooke. 

The OPBA contract was ratified in part by counil in October and in full during the Nov. 1 meeting.

In other business, council approved an agreement with Lewis Landscaping and Nursery of Copley to complete renovation work on Sisler Field 2, which is at Sisler Park near the Manchester Middle School. The field is used as a baseball field by many local teams. Mayor Al Bollas said all of the city parks, Lockhart Field and Miracle Park, as well, are used well by residents and he sees a need, along with the park board to invest in improvements.

The contract for Sisler Filed 2 was accepted at $9,473 to complete edging the infield grass line; loosening depth of the field; rough grading; adding 24 tons of sand to the infield; adding clay diamond conditioner; installing new base anchors; and adding a quarter ton of clay to pitchers mound.

Sisler Field 3 will be renovated next spring.