Winona City Manager Judy Bodway recommended that the City Council approve a two percent raise for nonunion city employees, the largest increase for city employees since 2009. The council is expected to vote on the recommendation on Monday.
Union employees, who make up the bulk of city employees, have yet to settle new contracts. However, nonunion rates are often used by city leaders to "set the bar" for union negotiations, according to a 2011 closed session of the City Council on labor negotiations. If so, the proposal for a two percent raise may be indicative of what the city is willing to give its unions.
Bodway, who would be subject to the nonunion raise herself, declined to comment on the rationale for the recommendation and whether or not it would come as a surprise to council members, who met with city staff in closed session this fall to discuss strategy for current bargaining. The council may have indicated support for the two-percent figure during those closed meetings. Bodway did indicate that the council may be free to reduce the nonunion employee rates later if the union contracts settled for less.
In 2009, the city gave unions a 2.75 percent increase. In 2010 and 2011, the labor groups settled for zero percent increases, recognizing the recession's continued impact on the city. In 2012 and 2013, the unions agreed on 1.5 percent raises each year.
The City Council meeting is Monday, December 16, at 6:30 p.m. at city hall.
Signs at Windom Park
to be reconsidered
Are signs in Windom Park a valuable community service or an eyesore? The council will also debate rules for signage in the park and city signage rules in general during its Monday meeting. In several recent meetings, council members conveyed citizen concerns they had received about the event signs that are posted in the park.
The council typically approves requests for signage at the park during its meetings, but city leaders voted to postpone approval of a Women's Resource Center fundraiser sign until after discussing potential changes to the rules.
Currently the city zoning ordinance restricts where signs can be displayed, how big they can be, and what sort of signs are allowed. Council approval is required for signs in city parks.
The council will host an informational meeting on sign rules at 6 p.m. on Monday in the Wenonah Room on the third floor of city hall. The council is expected to vote on proposed changes at its 6:30 p.m. meeting. Details of the proposed changes were not included in the agenda materials.