The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 24, 2013

Ashtabula City Council plans special meeting to discuss layoffs

Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — Early retirements, combining two departments and new legislation — it’s all on tap for a special City Council meeting set for 6 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

At the top of the agenda are looming layoffs, resulting from the 2013 budget that was passed by council in late December.

City Manager Jim Timonere has said the lost positions will come from the sanitation department — all members of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Local 1197.  

The exact number of layoffs will be determined by the number of older employees who take the buy-out option presented to them, he said.

Monday night, City Auditor Dana Pinkert said there are still no final numbers on employees taking the buy-out, also known as early retirement.

Vice President Chris McClure said he hopes to get to the “finer points” of the early retirement plan by then, such as, what will it cost? How far will the city extend it? Could the city get the funding?

Council also plans to talk about the manager’s plans to combine the public works and sanitation departments, a move he says will allow the city to continue at its current capacity as far as picking up garbage and plowing snow.

The nine union employees who believe they will be cut from the payroll have maintained that city services will suffer and that the early retirement packages are not attractive to them. The employees have attended City Council meetings and talked to the press to voice their opinion.

Also on tap Monday night will be the possibility of tweaking Civil Service rules, concerning promotions in the police department and when to give an examination.