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Collinsville Council approves agreements with two local unions

By Devese “Dee” Ursery

The Collinsville City Council on Tuesday approved collective bargaining agreements with International Union of Operating Engineers locals 520(c) and 148. 

The city and two locals agreed to three-year collective bargaining agreements that began at the beginning of this year and will continue through Dec. 31, 2025. City Manager Mitch Bair said these are standard three-year contracts and discussed the wage increases within. 

He said Locals 520C and 148, started this year with a 5% pay increase and a consumer price index salary adjustment of no less than 3% and no than 4%.

“Given the uncertainty of where we were, we were able to maintain the cap at 4%, they wanted it higher,” Bair said. “We kept the floor at 3% and the City preferred it to be a little lower, so both sides did not get what they wanted.”

Also included in the agreements, all city employees whose job description requires a commercial driver’s license must obtain one in accordance with federal regulations. Meal allowance for city workers increased from $7.50 to $20, per meal. Sewer plant operators that want paid time off and work 40 hours or more will be filled in by a relief operator whenever practical without creating overtime. New employees who worked at least six months in their first calendar year will receive an allocated rain gear and safety equipment allowance. 

The agreements also waive payment for participation in the IOUE National Training Fund. Initially, the City participated in this training fund to provide additional training opportunities to employees in 2019. After establishing the fund in 2019, the COVID pandemic hit and the training had to cease during that time. 

Also at that time, public employee unions were ruled ineligible to participate in the training opportunities.

Council approved a second change order in the amount of $26,275 to the contract with Millennium Construction for the City Hall Renovation Project. The project is to restore the Old Courtroom on the second floor. The renovations will accommodate office space to house the administrative staff and the Community Development Department. The addition of the second change order brought the total adjusted contract price to $306, 477.

The changes in the project design will restore the character of the space to reflect the original design of the 1880s. The change order will cover the restoration of the deteriorating  brick and mortar on the interior south and west walls of the Old Courtroom. Work that’s included on this change order is tuckpointing of the walls and the replacement of over 100 bricks.

Public Works Director Dennis Kress explained that they also decided to completely remove the drop ceiling in order to leave the original wood finished ceiling exposed. Kress also said there will be another contract for the furniture which will cover the purchase and installation. 

“By removing the ceiling we’re going to be able to expose the big tall windows that were partially covered,” Kress said. “We will have another change order coming forward that will have additions and deductions to the original contract because of the change to the walls.”

A new piece of equipment was added to the Parks Maintenance Fleet. Council approved the purchase of a Ventrac with attachments for $32,784.40 from MTI Distributing, Inc. The Ventrac is a unique piece of equipment comparable to a tractor that specifically allows many parks and recreation functions to be performed. Its primary use is at sports facilities where difficult turf management is required.

Kimberly Caughran, director of parks and recreation, said the Ventrac with attachments was initially budgeted at $30,000. The final purchase came in at 5% over the budgeted amount and therefore must be approved by the Council. 

Council approved an ordinance giving the mayor the authority to execute an agreement with J&M Displays in relation to a fireworks display in the amount of $33,000. The display will be for Collinsville’s 4th Annual Memorial Day Weekend Celebration to kick off the summer.

 In the 2022-2024 Strategic Plan and Priorities for Collinsville, Bair went over the vision and mission of this plan for the City. He said the important part of the vision statement is this is the City’s long-term view of where we want to be at the horizon.

He said that city staff are going to improve the quality of life and they plan to do it through a unique business approach. A “Gold Standard,” he said, is how the city will go about doing the business of the people.

“We want to maintain a vibrant and growing community known for its small-town sensibility,” Bair said. “We’re going to be creative, efficient and we’re gonna be above all, fiscally responsible. The guiding principles are a list of rules and standards by which we are going to get there.”

The city will learn from other public and private organizations to  find resourceful and innovative ways of doing things. Teamwork is one of the city’s most important principles, Bair said. Professionalism is another principle that we stand by. City staff and leaders bring expertise to their work as well as a conscientious and courteous approach.

“When we look at how we are going to get to what we’ve identified and where we want to be through the delivery of exceptional municipal services,” Bair said.


1 Comment

  1. Anonymous on February 16, 2023 at 12:54 pm

    Been there gone that. Sounds good but will never happen. Bair is trying to justify his $150,000 annual salary I am not fooled. Came closer with previous city managers.

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