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Contracts, pay raises receive no support from council

Workshop scheduled to discuss proposals

WEIRTON — Proposals for new contracts for two municipal unions and pay increases of non-union employees failed to receive support during Monday’s Weirton Council meeting, although officials said they will schedule a work session in the coming weeks for further discussion.

Council was set to vote on three proposals Monday. The first was an ordinance modifying Ordinance 1313 establishing new salary ranges for non-union municipal employees under the city’s general fund. The second would establish new salaries for members of the Weirton Municipal Employees Union. The third was for salaries for city employees within the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 84.

According to discussions during last week’s Finance Committee meeting, the non-union employee raises would have amounted to an increased $151,000 a year in salaries; the FOP contract would have included $103,000 more the first year and $143,000 the second year; and the WMEU would have had $136,850 the first year, $247,655 the second year and $322,443 the third year. Those figures do not include benefits. When each was presented to council; however, none received the support of a motion, meaning no vote would be taken.

Earlier in the evening, Ward 7 Councilman Terry Weigel requested an executive session to discussion personnel, as well as the contract proposals. City Manager Joe DiBartolomeo, however, said council cannot discuss the contracts in executive session.

“You’re not part of the negotiating team. You’re not part of management,” he said.

Ward 4 Councilman George Ash said it is possible council would not agree to the terms of the contracts developed by the unions and management staff.

Council did convene into executive session for approximately 15 minutes, stating it would be for personnel matters, although DiBartolomeo later claimed other topics were discussed, adding he believes council violated city charter as a result.

DiBartolomeo later took issue with the lack of vote from council, while also raising previous issues with financial decisions and votes against his proposal to create a municipal-operated convention and visitors bureau, as well as a lack of review of the city’s workers’ compensation policy.

“I don’t trust you. I don’t believe in you,” he said.

DiBartolomeo said the proposed contracts and pay raises were part of an effort to attract new employees while retaining existing employees. He noted the $6 million brought in through the CARES Act, saying it was due to the work of city employees.

“The money we put away is on the backs of these employees,” he said.

Ward 1 Councilman Tim Connell responded to DiBartolomeo’s comments, saying he was “saddened” by what he called attacks on the administration.

“You constantly attack this administration,” Connell said. “From Day One, you’ve criticized us about just about everything.”

Ward 3 Councilman Fred Marsh proposed council schedule a workshop, planned for 6:30 p.m., June 22 in Room 201 of the Weirton Municipal Building, to discuss the contracts.

(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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