The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

April 26, 2013

Mediator sought to end Conneaut/FOP impasse

Star Beacon

CONNEAUT —  A third party is apparently needed to nudge along contract talks between the city of Conneaut and Lodge 51 of the Fraternal Order of Police.

“We’re in the process of selecting a mediator,” City Manager Tim Eggleston said this week.

Both sides have made headway on some of the smaller topics, he said. “We’ve gone through the contract and have worked out details in language in the minor issues,” he said.

There’s been less movement on the major subjects, such as wages, Eggleston said. “We’re still at odds,” he said.

A spokesman for Lodge 51 could not be reached for comment. Traditionally, the cost of a mediator is split between the parties.

City Hall has already settled contracts with two of four bargaining units. Early in the year new three-year pacts were adopted with the Local 651 of the International Association of Fire Fighters and also police/fire/EMS dispatchers, who are members of United Steel Workers Local 7334-02.

The firefighters accepted a pay freeze this year and will have wage reopeners in 2014 and 2015. Firefighters have said they were concerned with preserving jobs. Dispatchers received a 15-cent hourly pay hike this year and will get another nickel-an-hour hike in 2014. In return, the dispatchers gave up their life insurance, a savings to the city that will cover the cost of the wage increases.

In addition to the FOP negotiation, talks are still under way with Local 2182 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents Conneaut’s service department employees.