Carson City employees file complaint against city supervisors

Members of the the Carson City Employees Association have filed a complaint against the city after a negotiated pay raise was rejected by the Board of Supervisors in mid-December, they said Wednesday.

City officials were continuing to try to negotiate a contract with employees this week.

The employees' association filed the complaint with the Local Government Employee-Management Relations Board in Las Vegas on Dec. 31.

In the complaint, the association is asking the board to find the city bargained in bad faith, order the city to ratify the collective bargaining agreement finalized by the union after 10 months of negotiations with city management and pay attorney fees.

Employees had agreed to a two-year contract that included a 1.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment plus "longevity" package, which was projected as a .4 percent wage increase in the first year, retroactive to July 1, 2002, and a 1.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment effective July 1.

City Manager John Berkich said city officials are hoping the complaint will be withdrawn after further negotiations.

"We're hopeful of a speedy resolution to the issue," Berkich said.

The wage package was what city management had proposed to the association, said Michael Langton, attorney for the association.

"We quite honestly thought the 2 percent was really low end," Langton said. "But we went along with it in recognition to the city problems. We asked for 3 percent and ended up settling for 2."

During the 10-month negotiation process, city management told the employee group they had cleared the contract issues with the Board of Supervisors, Langton said. It was a surprise when supervisors voted the contract down in December, he said.

"(City management) basically lied to us at the table," Langton said.

Supervisors had targeted the cost of the contract in the first year to be approximately $851,000, but estimated the first year of the contract would instead cost $974,000, according to the complaint.

Association President LeAnne Warne, a production operator with the city's water utility district, said employees are planning to discuss their option at an upcoming general meeting Jan. 23.

The association will either wait for a decision to be made by the state's employee board regarding the complaint, take a look at the city's new proposal or resume negotiations with city management.

The association is made up of 200 employees, but the employee contract affects all 330 city employees, Warne said.


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