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Village Council members plan to vote on new contracts for all of the Key's collective bargaining units at their special meeting tonight.

The meeting is at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers. Residents are welcome to attend, and it will air live on government TV and www.keybiscayne.fl.gov.

Five union contracts are on the table the general employees under International Union of Police Associations AFL-CIO; firefighter-paramedics, driver engineers and fire lieutenants under Key Biscayne Professional Firefighter’s Association Local 3638; fire captains under Local 3638; police officers under Key Biscayne Police Officer’s Association Local 6023; and police lieutenants under International Union of Police Associations AFL-CIO.

Council members deferred approval of the contracts June 5, stating they hadn't had enough time to read the documents thoroughly. They gave assurances that the contracts – which have been under negotiation for a long time and were ratified by the unions – are not going to change between now and June 25.

“I’m not ready to vote today, but I don’t want to defer it for too long,” Mayor Mayra Pena Lindsay said on the 5th, but, “I don’t want to extend this beyond a couple weeks – I don’t think it’s fair to everyone who’s worked so hard.”

Council member Gary Gross sought to make sure the delay is only so local leaders have time to read the documents, not to suggest changes.

“I would just like to emphasize to all of my cohorts up here that we spent a year and hundreds of hours going through every detail in excruciating detail, and in the end, we unanimously approved them,” he said. “Everyone should have a chance to read them, but just to make sure they totally comport with what we approved, as opposed to revisiting anything.

“That, to me, would be incredibly inappropriate.”

Pena Lindsay confirmed her only intention was to read the document before voting. “It’s not to renegotiate. We’re done,” she said. “I just think before I vote on things I should read them.”

Vice Mayor Frank Caplan agreed: “I think what you said is the most important thing, which is, we’re done,” he told the Mayor. “I know I’m done.”

With that said, Gross said he expects very little discussions on the items tonight, and to that end he urged his colleagues to address questions prior to the meeting with Village Attorney Brett Schneider. 

Five union contracts are up for approval: the general employees under International Union of Police Associations AFL-CIO; firefighter-paramedics, driver engineers and fire lieutenants under Key Biscayne Professional Firefighter’s Association Local 3638; fire captains under Local 3638; police officers under Key Biscayne Police Officer’s Association Local 6023; and police lieutenants under International Union of Police Associations AFL-CIO.

The contracts can be approved by resolution with a single vote.

Council members also have to ratify Village Code changes related to bargained pension changes via ordinance, which takes two votes. They adopted the changes on first reading June 5 and plan a second and final reading August 28.

There are several proposed changes to the pension, which Schneider detailed.

The Village’s annual contribution will be capped at 20 percent of covered payroll, up from 14 percent. Any amount over 20 percent is the employees’ responsibility.

The minimum funded ratio is 80 percent based on a 7.5 percent assumed rate of return, meaning there is no longer a hard dollar cap on unfunded liability. If the funded ratio falls below the minimum, the multiplier will be reduced for prospective service to the extent necessary to keep the funded ratio over 80 percent; or, employees can pay off unfunded liability to achieve an 80 percent funded ratio or make other changes so the ratio exceeds 80 percent.

Schneider said the previous hard dollar cap would become problematic as the plan grows, so officials moved to a percentage. “The plan has to remain at least 80 percent funded, and if it falls below, it would trigger employee increases to contributions or decreases to the benefits. Those would basically be the options,” he said.

In response to questions from Gross, Schneider said 7.5 percent is the assumed rate only for calculating when employees have to kick in extra contributions or take lesser benefits. The Pension Board still controls the plan’s actual assumed rate, which is currently 7.7 percent but is in the process of being lowered.

“The 7.5 is a midpoint that protects both sides,” Schneider said, and the number can be adjusted in future collective bargaining agreements. “It’s a nice, fair number both sides are protected on.”

Meanwhile, effective October l, 2017 and for prospective service only, the monthly retirement benefit will increase from 2.75 percent to 3 percent of average final compensation for each year of credited service obtained after the ratification date.

Other changes include:

-          The maximum annual benefit based on the normal annuity form (life with 10-year certain) payable at retirement is employee’s choice of the lesser of $90,000 or 90 percent of average final compensation; or 80 percent of average final compensation. The cap will be applied to any other form of benefit selected by the employee on a proportionate basis

-          Employees may purchase service credits for prior military, police or fire service to the maximum extent allowed under state law, up to five years. Credit may be purchased with annual leave, 457 Defined Compensation Plan funds, cash or any combination. The employee is responsible for the full actuarial cost of the benefit enhancement.

-          A share plan was established but will be inactive until the Village and unions negotiate to allocate premium tax revenues to the share plan. The Village and unions have agreed any premium tax revenues received by the plan, including unallocated premium tax revenues, will be used to reduce Village contributions.

As for other aspects of the contracts, several components of the new contracts are consistent across all contracts. They include:

Term: three years

Expires: September 30, 2020

COLA: 4.2 percent retroactive to October 1, 2017; increase equal to the CPI change for Fiscal Years 2019 and 2020 (capped at 4 percent)

Health and Life Insurance, employee only: Village pays full cost for employee-only in basic plan; employees who choose higher-cost coverage pay the difference between the basic plan and their plan. Coverage was previously capped at $530.

Health and Life Insurance, dependent: The Village will raise its contribution from 50 to 75 percent of the difference in total cost between the individual premium for the basic plan and the total premium for the type of dependent coverage selected by the employee.

Professional Enhancement: Tuition reimbursement will be increased from $4,000 to $10,000 per eligible employee per year

Meanwhile, each collective bargaining unit also has specifics unique to its agreement:

General employees

Longevity pay: lump sum merit-based bonus of up to 4 percent a year starting at year 15

Night differential (police dispatchers): 3-5 percent for work between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

Salary survey: Done by September 30, 2019; afterwards, either party may reopen negotiations on changes to salary ranges

Holidays and Personal Days: Employees who are called in to work on a holiday on a scheduled day off will receive one floating holiday in addition to being compensated for that day

Sick Leave: If the Village agrees to a sick leave conversion policy with another bargaining unit, the union may reopen the agreement in year two to negotiate the same or similar policy.

Firefighter-paramedics, Driver Engineers and Fire Lieutenants; and Fire Captains

Step Pay Plan Placement: Employees hired after ratification of the 2013-16 contract who were in the five-step plan will be placed in the same 10-step plan as employees hired before the contract.

Longevity pay: Those not currently receiving longevity pay may earn a lump sum merit-based bonus of up to 4 percent a year starting at year 15

Leaves of Absence: Employees receive two 12-hour personal days a year, up from one. The maximum amount of compensatory time an employee can accrue goes from 240 to 360 hours.

Sick Leave: The Village will implement a sick leave to vacation leave conversion program on a trial basis allowing a maximum of 144 hours to be converted. The program will be discontinued if it has an adverse financial impact.

Uniforms and Maintenance Allowance: Goes up from $635 to $700 per year

Police Officers

Salary Plan: The Village will eliminate the five-step plan in effect for employees hired on or after October 1, 2010 and maintain a 10-step plan for all employees. All employees who were topped out in the five-step plan will move to the step in the 10-step plan based on their total years of service in their position, retroactive to March l, 2018. Employees will not be entitled to backpay and will move to the next steps of the plan on their anniversary dates.

Longevity Pay: Those not currently receiving longevity pay may earn a lump sum merit-based bonus of up to 4 percent a year starting at year 15

Sick Leave: Accrual will increase from 10 to 12 hours per month and the Village will implement a sick leave to vacation leave conversion program on a trial basis allowing a maximum of 144 hours to be converted. The program will be discontinued if it has an adverse financial impact.

Holidays: Employees called in to work on a holiday will get a floating holiday in addition to being compensated for that day

Personal Days: Shift employees’ personal day accrual will increase from one to two days a year

Shift Pay Differential: Employees who work between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. shall receive an increase in differential pay for those hours from 3-5 percent.

Field Training Officers and Specialized Units: Marine Patrol, Motors, Rapid Response, Police Diver or Firearm Trainer employees will have 4 percent added to their base pay

Uniform and Maintenance Allowance: Increases from $635 to $700 per year.

Off-Dutv Police Work: Increases from $40-$50 an hour for officers and $45-$55 for supervisors.

Police Lieutenants

Salary Plan: The Village will eliminate the five-step plan for employees hired or promoted after ratification of the last agreement and maintain a 10-step plan for all employees. Employees who are not topped out in that plan will move to the next step on their anniversary dates

Longevity Pay: Those not currently receiving longevity pay may earn a lump sum merit-based bonus of up to 4 percent a year starting at year 15

Sick Leave: The Village will implement a sick leave to vacation leave conversion program on a trial basis allowing a maximum of 144 hours to be converted. The program will be discontinued if it has an adverse financial impact.

Holidays: Employees called in to work on a holiday will get a floating holiday in addition to being compensated for that day

Personal Days: Shift employees’ personal day accrual will increase from one to two days a year

Shift Pay Differential: Employees who work between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. shall receive an increase in differential pay for those hours from 3-5 percent.

Uniform and Maintenance Allowance: Increases from $635 to $700 per year.

Off-Dutv Police Work: Increases from $40-$50 an hour for officers and $45-$55 for supervisors.

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