JCAA Pact Restores Some Balance To The City Budget

We’re sure, back in the 1970s and 1980s, City Council members and Jamestown mayors thought they had arrived at contracts with city employees that were fair to employees and taxpayers alike.

Hindsight tells us those contracts were, in fact, albatrosses around the neck of the taxpaying public. So we will refrain from being overly bullish about the contract agreement approved last week between the city and the Jamestown City Administrative Association.

At first glance, however, the contract appears fair for all involved and potentially a model for future contracts. There are no retroactive pay raises for the union for 2017, 2018 or 2019 with 2% increases in 2020 and 2021. That’s 4% total over a five-year period. Parts of the new contract includes adding an additional salary step for longtime employees while erasing a lower step in the pay scale. All told, the salary changes total a roughly $10,000 increase on the city budget.

The JCAA units are the first city unions to agree that new employees, as of Jan. 1, 2020, will join a new hybrid health care plan and will no longer be on the city-owned health care insurance. He added that the new plan has a higher deductible, but a lower employee contribution. Also, current employees will have a choice to stay in the city-owned plan or to join the new hybrid system. The new contract also has the stipulation that all new hires will no longer be part of the city-owned health care plan once they reach Medicare eligibility. JCAA employees will join American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employee (AFSCME) local 418 and the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) local 1000, who all have agreed to the stipulation in recent contract negotiations.

Slowly but surely, the city is working to move retirees off of the city’s health insurance plans. The JCAA contracts begins the process of phasing out a city-owned health care plan altogether. Health care costs are one of the back-breaking items in the city budget each year, so it’s hard to overstate the importance of these negotiated changes for taxpayers.

Hopefully, the benefit of hindsight in a few years marks the agreement between the JCAA and the city as the start of a new model that restores some balance to the city budget.