Before the start of union negotiations, Ormond Beach commissioners decided to put some money on the table.

Mayor Bill Partington made the surprise announcement at the start of a recent City Commission meeting.

“In anticipation of the upcoming contract negotiations, city staff were working on a pay study to gather data and update these (wage) rates,” Mr. Partington said. “After reviewing the information, given the ever-changing landscape of the current economy, the commission met tonight and staff will present the unions with a memorandum for consideration to adjust our rates mid-contract.”

Three unions represent the city’s police, fire and public works employees.

“This more timely adjustment will help in attracting and retaining an efficient and effective workforce that can maintain the high quality of service Ormond Beach prides itself on maintaining,” Mayor Partington said.

At the end of the short City Commission meeting Jan. 4, he expressed appreciation to the city staff.

“As far as the union contract adjustment that I discussed, I want our employees to know that we as a commission appreciate you,” Mayor Partington said.

“We love the job you do,” he said. “You do an amazing job every day. So many of you. And we get the compliments for that. We get the credit for that. Our residents appreciate you and thank you for your service.”

Details of the city’s pay proposals to the unions were not released, but will be on the Jan. 19 City Commission agenda in the form of a memorandum of understanding.

Usually the unions would be shown the proposal first before action by the City Commission. The proposal is expected to be posted online before the Jan. 19 meeting.

Commissioners were a little late for the start of their own meeting because they were in a so-called “shade” meeting before the public meeting. Although Florida law requires meetings of the City Commission to be open to the public, there are exceptions. Strategy discussions for union or contract negotiations are one of the exceptions.

“I was very satisfied with what the commission did earlier today at the shade meeting,” Commissioner Rob Littleton said. “And, for the unions, I hope you look at that very, very much in detailed form and come back to us with what you think. I think you’ll like it.”

Also, the Commission approved buying seven new Ford Interceptor police vehicles under the Florida Sheriff’s Association contract. The cost to purchase the vehicles and outfit them for police work is $304,425.

“Instead of cars or sedans, they’re SUV’s,” Commissioner Susan Persis said. “The pictures of them look really nice. So chief, I am excited to see those around town. I just think that’s going to be a great addition to Ormond Beach.”

The new vehicles will replace two Crown Victorias, four Caprices and one Impala that have been in service for seven years. Those vehicles will be sold, with the city expecting to get $1,500 to $3,000 each.

City Manager Joyce Shanahan reminded commissioners that in a prior budget year they approved a special fund for public safety equipment to make sure there would always be enough money available.

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