Small raises for 2 employee groups


Some Kearny municipal employees are now members of the 1%.

No, they’re not part of the nation’s economic elite – they simply got a 1% pay boost under new labor contracts recently negotiated with the town.

The Kearny mayor and Town Council on Jan. 10 approved agreements with Local 18, Fireman’s Mutual Benevolent Association, and with the Association of Department Heads and Assistant Department Heads.

With those actions, the town has secured labor peace with each of its union-represented municipal employee units. The lone remaining group of workers are exempt management employees.

Town Administrator Michael Martello said that he wanted to conclude contract talks with employee groups before his retirement later this year “and that’s what I’m doing.”

The new contract with firefighters runs from Jan. 1, 2017, to Dec. 31, 2020, and provides for an annual 1% pay increase for those Local 18 members at the top step of the salary guide.

Other members hired prior to July 1, 2012, will receive step increases as prescribed by a new salary guide for various employee groups escalating to a top pay of $106,998 while members hired on or after July 1, 2012, will follow a separate salary guide with the same maximum pay but will take longer to reach it.

The agreement also sets a six-step salary guide for the position of fire official currently held by Juan Barroso that starts at $111,000 and runs to $127,000 after six years. It also fixes a $109,741 a year salary for fire prevention officer and provides for yearly 1% increases for 2018, 2019 and 2020.

Fire Chief Steve Dyl said the latter job has been vacant since the retirement of Chuck Kerr in July 2012. He said he’d be “looking to fill it” later this year after the department returns to nearly full strength later this year after newly-hired recruits complete Academy training.

This week, meanwhile, Dyl said he expected repair work to begin on the Davis Ave. firehouse by George Koustas Painting & Construction LLC of West Long Branch. “They’ve pulled permits,” Dyl said. “They want to secure the chimney and put up scaffolding.”

A new four-year agreement with department heads and assistant department heads also runs four years with provisions for across-the-board wage increases of 1% each year.

Starting this year, one of three annual “mayor-designated” holiday days will be eliminated and employees eligible for that deleted holiday will, instead, receive a $300 stipend payable in the first period of the year. “Mayor-designated” holidays have been part of civilian labor contracts in Kearny since the 1970s.

Beginning Jan. 2, 2018, a second “mayor-designated” holiday will be eliminated and eligible employees shall, instead, receive a $600 stipend in the first pay period of that year.

Also, the employee clothing allowance will be increased by $50 this year, to a total of $425 for 2017, and by an additional $50 next year, to a total of $475 for 2018.

Employee boot allowance will likewise be raised by $50 this year to a total of $375 for 2017 and by an additional $50 next year to a revised total of $425 for 2018.

– Ron Leir



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