Luzerne County juggling union negotiations [The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pa. :: ]
(Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, PA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Sept. 01--Employees in three of Luzerne County government's 10 unions are still working under collective bargaining agreements that expired at the end of 2013, and negotiations are about to begin on three more contracts expiring the end of this year.
The status of negotiations for contracts that already expired, according to county Administrative Services Division Head David Parsnik:
-- Leaders of the residual union continue meeting with the administration to discuss options to avoid the first county strike in more than three decades. The union, which voted 65-34 against the county's proposed contract in June, covers security guards, road and bridge workers, maintenance workers, 911 dispatchers and clerical staff.
-- Assistant district attorneys/public defenders are scheduled for closed-door binding arbitration hearings in October. The union sought arbitration because negotiations reached an impasse, and the union doesn't have the right to strike.
-- Binding arbitration hearings have wrapped up for the prison union. Lawyers representing the county and union soon will meet with the neutral arbitrator to discuss the issues.
The administration is in the process of scheduling negotiating sessions for the contracts that run through Dec. 31, Parsnik said.
These contracts cover court-appointed professionals (probation/domestic relations officers), court-appointed support staff and court-related workers such as sheriff deputies and clerks in the civil and criminal court records and district attorney's offices.
-- Applicants for the county information technology executive director position will be interviewed mid-September, Parsnik said. The position has been vacant since Steve Englot retired last October.
-- In addition to $1 million for county-owned Moon Lake Park in Plymouth Township, here are some of the major projects that received funding earmarks in the capital plan adopted last week by county council: courthouse elevator renovations, $550,000; courthouse interior dome plaster and gilding repairs, $2.37 million; voice-over IP telephone system, $1.1 million; countywide computer server virtualization, $532,000; electrical room switchgear upgrade, $500,000; and purchase of a records storage facility, $1 million.
-- Council last week ruled out two potential buyers for the Springbrook Water Co. property on North Franklin Street in Wilkes-Barre and agreed to negotiate a sale with King's College. The college would purchase the property through a taxable entity, which means taxing bodies will receive real estate tax revenue, officials said.
The administration also was directed to negotiate with the Downtown Hazleton Alliance for Progress, which was the only entity that submitted an offer to purchase a former Hazleton bank building purchased years ago for a southern annex that never materialized.
Negotiations will continue with all three parties that submitted proposals to buy the former Valley Crest Nursing Home in Plains Township.
-- The full council will hold a committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the council meeting room at the courthouse in Wilkes-Barre.
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