JAMESTOWN – An independent arbitration panel has ruled that all retroactive wages for members of the Jamestown Kendall Club, the city’s police union, must be paid by Dec. 15, according to a 44-page arbitration ruling released Wednesday.
All wages shall be increased by two percent for the years 2016 and 17, according to the ruling. Independent arbitrator Howard Foster and union representative John Crotty both concurred with the prevision, while City Clerk Todd Thomas dissented.
Thomas and the City of Jamestown argued that the city has reached its constitutional tax limit, therefore, a raise would be impossible. The union, however, said that the city could use resources, such as dividend payments from the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities, to pay for a salary hike.
“The city cannot increase taxes, cannon unilaterally alter the (BPU tax equivalency), and cannot budget a (BPU) dividend where there are insufficient profits or knowledge of profits. In short, the city lacks the ability to pay a substantial wage increase,” Thomas wrote. “Apart from a general inability to pay, the evidence was insufficient to prove that the Union requires an increase in wages.
The ruling comes after the city and the union failed to reach an agreement for a new collective bargaining agreement for the years 2016 and 17.