Tuolumne County approves contracts for management

Written by Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat July 08, 2013 05:18 am

Tuolumne County leaders and two of the county’s employee groups now have new employment agreements in place, though negotiations are continuing for most of the county’s bargaining groups.

The county Board of Supervisors this week approved a one-year compensation plan for the county’s department heads and a two-year contract for the Tuolumne County Management Association, which represents management-level employees. 

 

Both agreements remove temporary pay concessions that have been in place in recent years but also include some permanent cuts to benefits.

In both agreements, employees contribute 6.25 percent of the employer share of their pension contribution. The county’s share is 7 percent or 9 percent, depending on the position. Both contracts also include a 1 percent cost-of-living increase for miscellaneous employees and 7 percent for public safety. 

New employees in both groups will see a 500-hour cap on annual personal leave, while all will see a reduction in family medical leave from six months to 12 weeks.

The county has been actively negotiating contracts for all employee bargaining groups for months, as all of the county’s employee contracts expired on June 30. Ann Fremd, human resources director and risk manager, said Wednesday that the remaining employees will operate under the terms of their current contracts until a new agreement is reached.

The other groups include the deputy sheriffs, attorneys unit, health care workers, physicians and the miscellaneous group that combines skilled professionals, road workers and other employees.

Fremd said it’s “difficult to say at this point” when those contract talks should wrap up.

“Everybody’s working well together, but there are areas of difference that need to be resolved,” she said.

In March, the Board of Supervisors set the stage for the ongoing contract talks when they approved a set of talking points for the coming budget. The discussion predicted the five-year recession would even out, but not before one more budget with a multi-million-dollar shortfall.

Budget balancing options discussed and approved include possible pay and benefit cuts, workforce reductions or a combination of both. The preliminary budget the board approved last month was also drafted assuming some union concessions.