Mt. Vernon Register-News

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June 20, 2014

White proposes concessions

MT. VERNON — In attempting to find alternative methods to reduce expenses, County Chairman Robert White proposed at Thursday’s Fiscal Committee meeting to negotiate concessions with the county’s three bargaining units.

The proposed reductions are for holidays, personal days and health insurance.

White proposed reducing the number of paid holidays from 15 to 11, taking away the three personal days currently being offered and placing a $500 contribution cap on health insurance which would result in a $105 monthly contribution from each employee. The holidays White suggested be reduced are: Good Friday, Black Friday, Lincoln’s birthday and Columbus Day.

Those options are the best available, rather than cutting personnel or closing down the jail, White said.

“We’re left with the task if we’re going to have to reduce expenses we’re going to have to do it with labor,” White said. “The easiest thing to do is reduce personnel; the hardest thing to do is reduce personnel.”

White said the county is currently in negotiations with the three bargaining units — AFSCME (American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees), FOP corrections and FOP deputies.

“We could reduce the hours of the courthouse. Most likely that would reduce the work week to 36

hours. That scenario would reduce services to the taxpayers of this county,” White said.

“Rather than go to those extreme measures, trying to put that square peg through the round hole, there are more cost effective ways to reduce our labor expense without reducing the number of employees or reducing services but what that is going to require is our bargaining unit agreeing to certain concessions,” he continued.

Treasurer Dan Knox reported the county is not behind on demand claims and monthly claims are being paid in a “much more timely manner.” Knox used the words “staying even” to describe the county’s current fiscal condition.

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