April 19, 2015 Ward Letter

I hope you are enjoying our best Spring weekend yet.  This week’s ward letter discusses the City workers’ contract, bond financing and a community meeting this week sponsored by the College Hill Neighborhood Association.

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The contract between the City and Laborers’ Local 1033 (which represents the majority of City workers, other than police, fire fighters and teachers) will expire this June.  Many management structures (such as job descriptions) are enshrined in the contract; therefore, the contract negotiations present the principal opportunity every three years identify and implement efficiencies that will enhance City services while reducing costs.  With that in mind, the City Council commissioned a consultant’s Report to identify specific contractual changes that could accomplish these goals.  The Report contains 20 specific recommendations which, if implemented, would produce more than $400,000 in annual savings without outsourcing or layoffs.  Instead, the Report proposes to consolidate City functions and add flexibility to job descriptions to remove “red tape” that can mitigate or end redundant staffing and/or work across City departments.  The Report is a public document which the City Council has made available to both the administration and the Local 1033 leadership in the hope that it will help them reach points of agreement to move the City forward.

The City Council’s Bond Finance Study Commission held its third meeting on Wednesday, April 15.  The Commission heard a Presentation by the City’s bond financial advisers and legal counsel concerning the requirements of bond financing, the components of the City’s credit rating, the City’s bond financing tools and the anticipated availability of capital finance for future projects in the coming years.  Wednesday’s meeting followed a March 25 meeting at which the Commission heard a Review by the City’s Internal Auditor of the current inventory of outstanding bonds issued by the City.  In its upcoming meetings, the Commission will review reports concerning proposed capital projects, including road and sidewalk repairs, school facilities and, as currently scheduled for the May 13 meeting, the recently announced streetcar construction program.

This week, the College Hill Neighborhood Association is sponsoring a community meeting to talk with City officials to discuss Plowing, Potholes and Parking.  The meeting will take place Wednesday, April 22 at 6:30 p.m. at the Wheeler School, 215 Hope Street.  The Association has invited the Mayor, City’s new Director of Public Works (Captain Russell Knight) and the Mayor’s Chief of Staff and Chief Operating Officer.  I also have been invited to provide the City Council’s perspective on these issues.  The general public is invited to attend and share their questions and concerns.