This part is short and sweet . . .
Shiva Bidar Sielaff calls the meeting to order. They do roll call – couldn’t tell who was there. Bidar-Sielaff recuses herself from item 6 and says the Mayor will be there in the next half hour.
Verveer moves a consent agenda and moves adoption of items 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6. That only leaves item 3, the capital budget and the union onctracts.
Buying land to expand Cherokee Marsh
Satya Rhodes-Conway has questions. She asks about an email that she got today, she wants to be reassured that the issues have been taken care of.
Shiva Bidar-Sielaff asks to clarify what the issues are for the rest of us.
Don Marx from Real Estate says that the neighborhood and plan commission wanted to be assured that under the Stewardship program that a sign would remain. He spoke to the Foundation and they thought it would pass muster because it was a recreational grant vs a conservation grant. If it doesn’t then they would have to segregate that parcel out and pay the state back. Its 6000 sq ft at $1.50 a sq ft that is about %36,000. That is similar to what they did with the houses in James Madison Park that they planned to move, when they didn’t move them they had to segregate that land and pay them back. The same thing would happen here.
Eric from Parks says that for the houses they didn’t write a check back, but they put restrictions on another park, it doesn’t have to be a cash contribution, just an equal amount of land.
Rhodes-Conway says that the land has to be in a similar situation. And thanks them for coming.
They discuss the capital budget for one hour and 25 minutes – I’ll come back to that.
Mayor asks staff to do a presentation. He reads the names of 8 or 9 people in support not wishing to speak.
Human Resources staff (sorry don’t know the guys name) says there is a tentative agreement that they reached on Friday with AFSCME Local 60. They structured it a little differently. They are going to have a break in March of 2014. The city will be able to take back a maximum of 3% in base wages, the city may use alternative health care option effective Jan 1, 2015. They will meet with the union prior to making changes. In December 2014 the city may increase wages, but it will not exceed 3%. And they continue language about avoiding lay offs with some modifications.
Mayor says that if you take the actions of March 2011, the passage of act 10 and the contracts that were passed at that time, the City of Madison does not have the financial resources to continue service levels and operations in 2013 or 2014. They are working on the 2013 budget now. They may have a good solution for one year and 3 months, but it is not a permanent solution. If we continue with the problem in 2014 he wants the city to be in a position to maintain the service levels which means no lay offs. Madison public employees have already incurred a significant number of acts by the state and the city that have resulted in reductions in their take home pay. Part of it is contributions to retirement, changes in health and there are more problems ahead when state revenues decline, our property tax base grows less than 1% annually and we have labor agreements calling for increases greater than 2 – 3% per year. What is important to recognize, and this is why the agreement is good, is because the city and the union will work together regardless of how dire or perhaps good the situation is a year an a half from now in doing what is good for the public and the rest of us.
Tim Birkley, on behalf of Local 60 speaks. He says many of their members are school district employees, represented by Local 60 and they are at the school board right now with MTI asking for the same benefit to sit with them to sit with their colleagues at MTI and negotiate a contract that protects services in the school district. Thanks the city for sitting down with them. They realize that there are factors outside of the city’s control that impact our budgets, they realize that cuts have been made, disproportionately in their view, by Scott Walker and the state legislature to Dane County and Madison budgets. They also know there is a housing market that is teetering on the brink of recovery. It’s not there yet, but we know that it is caused by hedge fund managers and bankers that gambled on sub-prime mortgages and then pass the buck on to everyday tax payer. With that in mind they sat down with city staff to work on something for March 2014 – March 2015, keeping in mind that the potential for continued deficits to the city are prevalent. It is never easy for me to go into a room and agree to potential wage cuts because Local 60 represents the lowest paid workers in the city. Any cut disproportionately affects them more than others. But they do realize the value in other rights they have bargained for and keeping a strong voice in their workplace. And they realize that maintaining a high level of services is of utmost importance and they are willing to sit down and look at how to restructure things to keep the services at the level they are at. With Act 10, being currently found unconstitutional, they were grateful to sit down with the city and figure out how to protect services in 2014 and 2015.
Mike Verveer asks for an update on other bargaining units.
Mayor says they are talking to others, one was set back due to the illness of someone, but they are talking to others.
Do you expect action on others this week.
Larry Palm asks what a 3% reduction would mean for the city.
Schmidicke from Finance says that it is a little over $900,000. That is salary and fringe benefits tied to salary.
Lisa Subeck asks what happens if the court overturns the unconstitutionality of Act 10.
Michael May, City Attorney says that normally when a judge makes an order that decision is valid until some other court says no by issuing a stay or reversing it. They are acting under a ruling from Dane County circuit court, that ruling applies to us and these contracts should be valid. Having said all that, this case will go to our Supreme Court and what they might do, I’m a little loathe to . . .
Mayor says who knows what new trails they may blaze.
May says yes. So, he is relatively confident but because of the path this is taken he is not as certain as he would like to be. He says if it would happen we would be back to where we are today, but he is relatively certain they can do this and be safe.
Bridget Maniaci asks how many employees are in Local 60.
Several people answer 1000 – 1100.
Mark Clear says thank you to Mayor and HR staff and local 60. He says it is an example of how it works well. He appreciates the mayor comments about putting the public first because there is a certain small but vocal segment of our population that had a reaction to these contracts that is completely erroneous in terms of the impact on the taxpayers and the public. This is an excellent agreement and moves all organizations forward and moves us forward in solving problems we may face in the future.
Mayor says that there is one more thing that is essential to this that he believes without reservation, from the standpoint of public employment, it is in managements interest to have a strong bargaining unit. That should be clear in all regards, we resolve differences, we learn from one another, and we trust one another.
They go back to the capital budget discussion for items 13 – 17.
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