Dayton could spend $2.2M on employee pay raises as part of ‘me too’ clauses

Diane Shannon, Dayton's director of procurement, management and budget, talks to City Manager Shelley Dickstein before a finance committee briefing. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
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Diane Shannon, Dayton's director of procurement, management and budget, talks to City Manager Shelley Dickstein before a finance committee briefing. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Dayton is considering giving retroactive 2% raises to most of its employees primarily because it has been awarded $138 million in federal rescue funds, city officials say.

On Wednesday, Dayton’s elected leaders are expected to vote on three-year collective bargaining agreements with its police union, the Fraternal Order of Police, that include the wage increases.

City commissioners also will vote on a third revised appropriation for 2021 that includes a 2% wage increase for employee groups with a “me too” contract clause, which includes the the Dayton Public Services Union Local 101 and the Dayton building and construction trades union, according to a memo from Diane Shannon, Dayton’s director of procurement, management and budget.

“Me too” clauses allow bargaining units to get the same economic benefits or compensation negotiated by other employee groups.

The city says the pay bumps would cost about $2.2 million. The city and its fire union, the International Association of Fire Fighters, remain in contract negotiations, officials said.

“If the commission adopts the FOP contracts on Wednesday, whatever FOP is getting in 2021, then DPSU gets it through me too, and building trades have a me-too agreement,” said Ken Couch, Dayton’s HR director. “I don’t have a me-too agreement with the IAFF, because we don’t have a three-year agreement yet.”

“Normally speaking, what we end up doing for one group ends up happening for everybody,” he said, adding that Dayton leaders usually implement the same wage changes for the city’s roughly 400 unrepresented employees too.

The front desk at Dayton City Hall in the spring. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
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The front desk at Dayton City Hall in the spring. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

The city’s receipt of $138 million in federal rescue money and higher-than-expected tax revenue collections helped the city negotiate the three-year contacts with the police union, which separately represents officers and supervisors, according to Shannon’s memo to the city manager.

Dayton City Hall at the corner of West Third Street and North Ludlow Street. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF
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Dayton City Hall at the corner of West Third Street and North Ludlow Street. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

The proposed revised appropriation calls for a $6.2 million net increase to the general fund.

That includes $714,000 for $2,000 lump sum payments to sworn police employees and $584,600 to restore cost savings days for the police department, according to city documents.

Earlier this year, the city approved $2,000 lump-sum payments for its employees, except members of the IAFF and FOP because they did not have contracts.

Dayton originally proposed a wage reduction for its employees in 2021, because it was impossible to know how severely the pandemic would impact its budget, Couch said.

But Dayton’s income tax collections recently saw the highest growth in decades, owing to a sharp increase in tax revenue from corporate profits.

However, city officials say that growth is not sustainable and they fear the city potentially could lose $10 million to $20 million in income tax revenue starting next year due to people working remotely.

Couch said it took time but the FOP was willing to work with the city to reach a satisfactory agreement.

“A 2% wage increase, we thought, was moderate, a compromise,” Couch said. “We would love to be in a position to provide more to employees who have been on the front lines of the pandemic.”

But, he said, the city has to be careful because of ongoing budget uncertainty.

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