BREAKING NEWS

BREAKING NEWS

Commissioners condemn Patriot Coal

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – During their Wednesday meeting, Belmont County commissioners approved a motion condemning Patriot Coal, Peabody Energy and Arch Coal for corporate greed, noting that Peabody’s spin-off of Patriot Coal endangers retiree pensions and health care through Patriot’s bankruptcy action.

Arch Coal’s endeavor to shed itself of promised health and retirement benefits was also condemned. Commissioners noted shifting Peabody and Arch’s legacy costs onto Patriot Coal under the direction of former Peabody and Arch executives implicates all three corporations.

In other matters, commissioners added that the loss of promised health care and retirement benefits could drive local communities into financial crisis. The commissioners pledged support to the United Mine Workers of America.

Commissioners authorized Sanitary Sewer District Director Mark Esposito to offer employment for the positions of billing clerk and accounts payable clerk.

Commissioners appointed H. Kirk Glasgow to the Belmont-Harrison Juvenile District Board of Trustees for a two-year term effective March 31, 2013-March 30, 2015. Subsequently, this appointment will be for a five-year term as set forth in the statue which calls for staggered terms.

Commissioners adopted a resolution requesting the director of the Ohio Department of Transportation to modify the present speed limit on Belmont 4, or Colerain Pike, from 55 to 40 miles per hour. As a result of a petition by Colerain residents, the engineer ordered speed survey.

Among the actions approved by commissioners were:

  • To advertise for bids for the Belmont County Engineer’s BEL-CR28A & B signal improvement and proceed with the required notice to builders.
  • To adopt a resolution authorizing the issuance of $1,797,000 of notes to pay part of the cost of acquiring and constructing sanitary sewer improvements in Belmont County Sanitary Sewer District No. 2, including the Exit 215 sewer line project, the village of Belmont pump station and forced main project, and the village of Morristown pump station project.
  • To approve the hiring of Leandra Reed as a summer student for the Belmont County Sanitary Sewer District at a rate of $7.85 per hour, effective June 3.
  • To approve the hiring of Matthew Yudasz as a summer student worker for the Belmont County Buildings and Grounds at the rate of $7.85 per hour.
  • To authorize the hiring of two full-time kitchen workers, one full-time driver, one full-time office worker, and one center coordinator and to advertise for one Hot Shot vehicle for the Department of Job and Family Services.
  • To designate Esposito to execute the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency director’s final findings and orders regarding the Eastern Ohio Regional Wastewater Authority satellite sewer collection system.
  • To accept the proposal from JD&E Contractors & Engineers for the Common Pleas courtroom renovation project in the amount of $28,800 for project supervision, complete Primavera Construction Schedule, construction management and coordination and architectural services.
  • To accept a proposal from JD&E Contractors & Engineers for the Common Pleas courtroom renovation project in the amount of $41,350 to provide all necessary labor, materials, tools and equipment.
  • To accept the tentative agreement in the negotiations between Job and Family Services and AFSCME SERB.

The management rights, grievance and arbitration, dues deduction, non-discrimination, etc., and fringe benefit provisions largely mirror existing labor contract for the other bargaining unit at the agency, or in the case of some issues such as the disposition of sick leave at retirement, the commissioners’ policy. Current employees would receive a step increase that has been held in abeyance since Jan. 19, 2013. The employees anticipated a step increase on or about that date when they were hired during the transition from BSS in return for continued, orderly service to Belmont County seniors, but the amount was discussed in negotiations. The step amount will be 50 cents per hour.

For annual increases for current non-probationary employees, the parties agreed on 30 cents per pay period including March 31, 2013, 50 cents per pay period including March 31, 2014, and 50 cents per pay period including March 31, 2015.

New employees will start at the beginning rates for their classifications and progress.

Provision is made for standardizing insurance offered to full-time bargaining unit employees as the commissioners adapt to federal health care reforms.

When the commissioners fix the date for the abolishment of Senior Services positions at DJFS to transfer to a new department, the bargaining unit employees and their wages, hours, conditions of employment and labor contract would transfer.

In another tentative agreement, the management rights, grievance and arbitration, dues deduction, non-discrimination, etc., and fringe benefit provisions mirror the commissioners policy as adapted to a labor contract.

Current less senior employees would be paid on a scale based on classification and steps assigned with equity based on relative tenure.

Annual increases in that scale would then be 2 percent for the pay periods including March 1, 2013, March 11, 2014, and March 1, 2015. New employees will start at beginning rates. Current employees not on the scale would receive 3 percent per year.

Provision is made for standardizing insurance offered to full-time bargaining unit employees as the commissioners adapt to federal health care reforms.

Provision is made for a health and safety advisory committee to make recommendations as technology advances.

Commissioners have 30 days to reject the tentative agreements.

DeFrank can be reached at rdefrank@timesleaderonline.com.