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New Franklin approves pay increases

Carolynn Mostyn
Suburbanite correspondent

NEW FRANKLIN  City Council approved a request to increase pay for part-time firefighters/paramedics at the Dec. 2 meeting.

Fire Chief Steve Leslie said that the current rate of $15.50 an hour is one of the lowest in the area. Council approved the increase to $18 per hour. The raise is an effort to attract and keep part-time firefighters.

“At this point we are at critical levels with our part-time personnel," Leslie said.

The department is having trouble fully scheduling shifts.

Leslie said part-time firefighters generally work three or four other part time positions with different departments and when they are hired full-time, they usually cut down on the part-time work. Because New Franklin is one of the lowest paying department, it is the department they tend to cut out. The department have 14 full-time and 13 part-time firefighters and the goal is to keep that part-time number closer to 20.

Leslie said departments are also limiting their full-time employees from working a variety of departments due to COVID-19.

Leslie pointed out that Coventry pays $19.37, Chippewa $18, and Canal Fulton pays $15.85 with a $1 a year increase up to $20 an hour. Leslie said he is also working on some other compensations that would attract or keep the firefighters. The pay raise will be effective as of Dec. 27.

Wage increases for all full-time and part-time non-union job classifications with the exception of part-time fire were also increased. Mayor Paul Adamson said it is even more important this year for the raises as, “they are all essential employees that have been through a lot.”

Councilman Jim Cotts voted against the increase and said he is not opposed to employees receiving increases, but he is against the process of giving raises “just because you are here.”

Adamson said that with the updated policy manual that was recently approved the city is moving in the direction of a merit raise system.

Cooke said there can be instances of inequality as a first day road department person could make more than the service director or an employee that has been there for a long time.

In other actions, council:

• Authorized an agreement with Montrose Ford for the purchase of a 2020 Ford F-Series SD truck for the service department. The price is $39,445. It will be paid through CARES Act funds.

• Amended a previous resolution for the city's two-year policing contract with the village of Clinton.

• Authorized an advance from the general fund of $12,648 to the COPS School Violence Prevention Fund. Cooke said the money advanced will be paid back to the fund.

• Authorized the transfer of funds from the general fund to the Police District and Dispatch funds.

• Approved a Resolution authorizing additional appropriations to the 2020 annual operating appropriations budget.

Announcements:

• Dog licenses are available online at www.fiscaloffice.summitoh.net.

• Archive Social will be working on archiving city records for the first two months, no fee assessed; thereafter, the cost would be $199 a month. This will help to comply with regulations.

• Cooke reported that there will be a special council meeting to review appropriations at 6 p.m., Dec. 30. She spoke to newly elected officials reminding them to take the Sunshine Law class online which is required and also encouraged them to take the online courses at the Ohio Ethics Commission.