Wednesday, March 11, 2015




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Ordinance to change city grievance process shot down

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Despite a packed house at Fort Wayne City Council Tuesday night, an ordinance to revise the grievance process for city employees will not move forward. The ordinance would have changed the grievance process if an employee is disciplined or fired. It’s something city employees felt they deserved after the repeal of collective bargaining last year.
Councilman John Shoaff introduced the ordinance before a room full of city workers.
“It was an effort to develop a fair process that all the workers would trust to resolve conflicts with management of any kind,” Shoaff said.
Right now, a three-member board holds a hearing if there’s a dispute. The mayor’s office appoints two of those people, and city council picks the third. The ordinance would have added a third party arbitrator if the city or employee chooses to appeal the decision.
“I think it’s essential if you want to get justice that you’ve got to have the person deciding a dispute be a person who has no interest in the outcome of the dispute,” Shoaff said. “It has very little to do with the finances of the city. It has to do with fairness to individuals, and there are only a handful of issues that end up going to the ultimate step of an arbitration.”
After a long discussion, Council voted 5-3 to not approve the ordinance.
Voted Yes to Ordinance:
  • Glynn Hines (D)
  • Geoff Paddock (D)
  • John Shoaff (D)
Voted No to Ordinance:
  • Marty Bender (R)
  • John Crawford (R)
  • Mitch Harper (R)
  • Russ Jehl (R)
  • Tom Smith (R)
That means the issue won’t get introduced at a council committee meeting and will no longer be up for discussion. Council President John Crawford voted against the ordinance.
“I vote for 99 percent of ordinances to introduce and come to committee, but this one just would’ve been bad public policy,” Crawford said. “That would have been very costly to the city, and we would have been retracing a lot of the things we debated last year.”
Crawford doesn’t think there has been enough time for the policy put in place after the repeal of collective bargaining.
“That earth was plowed last year, and frankly, it was pretty much turned to scorched earth last year. To go back there in an election year for something that at the end, I know council wouldn’t have passed it. We would’ve been through four to six weeks of drama and ended up with absolutely nothing.” Crawford said.
Crawford also said he’s reviewed all of the grievances filed so far this year and didn’t see any issues.
“60 days this has been in place. 46 incidents of discipline, 25 of them verbal only. I looked at all of them. I didn’t see any out of order. So, I just don’t think it’s time to discard  six months of work. If we want to try to improve these policies and see what can be made better, that’s fine. I just think it’s way too premature to do that. You don’t need collective bargaining and you don’t need mandatory binding arbitration to have a good relationship between and employer and an employee. If we need to work on it and make it better, that’s fine but we don’t necessarily need those tools,” Crawford said.
Workers were visibly upset to hear the ordinance wouldn’t be moving forward. Their representation said they’ve worked with council members for six months on the issue and council members said they would be willing to look at it.
“I don’t think their claims were valued at all. I think what they said was they wanted to stay on their party lines and they would refuse the workers to have a voice at work,” Business representative for Operating Engineers Local 399 Lloyd Osborne said. “The workers felt that with tonight, this ordinance, that they had a little bit of hope back, that they were going to be able to have a small measure put back into place that gives them the rights to be able to have a fair review process put in place if somebody decides to discipline or discharge them.”
Osborne said the conversation on worker’s rights needs to move forward.
“We’re hopeful that we can continue to talk to the administration, find ways to find policies that is and will be worker-friendly, help people out, and that people won’t have to go to jobs with fear every single day,” Osborne said.
City Council did take up another controversial issue Tuesday evening. It approved the introduction of a consulting contract for the $11 million dollarWest State Boulevard project. That consulting contract, which is worth nearly a half a million dollars, is expected to be further discussed at next week’s meeting.


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    It looks to me that Henry will be mayor again,and the Republicans will be to blame.The rank and file only want to feel some kind of security which has been taken away.Every head of department is a political hack,whose job relies on polities to get a paycheck..Crawford has no idea how it is for these people,who many worry everyday what might happen to them and some are republican.I know I worked for the city for 34 years.Of course it is not Crawfords first time not knowing something. Look at the Public Safety Academy which cost taxpayers 29 million which we can only give away after we finish paying for it in the near future.Or agreeing to pay for the new stadium downtown then pay for all the upkeep and utility's,then share in no profits with the Tincaps.We guarantee the Harrison a profit the hotel profit,we still pay for 60% of the costs for the Grand Wayne Center .Most recently $20 million ballooned to $40 million for the Ash project which I heard no explanation for from city government,and might I add that the Ash people now want a tax abatement amounting to $4.4 million over the next ten years,originally they were to pay $615.000 a year which would take taxpayers over 60 years to get their principle back,thank boy blunder for that one.And I believe Crawford was all right with all of that.I say vote the bums out.What the republicans should have gone after is the unions PAC money since so many members are Republicans,You give all members the choice where their part of the union donation goes to.It would have solved the problem.And kept people's security intact.Politician's out of touch!!!!!!!!!!

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