By ROGER AMSDEN, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — The Belknap County Delegation voted 10-5 Tuesday night to approve a a collective bargaining agreement which was recently negotiated between Belknap County Commissioners and Teamsters Local 633.
Roger Grey, citizen representative on the county bargaining team, explained that the two-year agreement with the union, which represents 23 mid-level county employees in several departments, provides cost-of-living and step increases, as well as a $1,000 one-time health incentive bonus.
It also provides that employees will pay 3.75 percent of their health insurance costs in the first year of the contract and 7.5 percent in the second year.
He said that currently none of the workers in the four unions representing county employees are required to pay any portion of their health insurance, a change which was negotiated in the contracts in order to persuade workers to sign on to new site-of-service plans which are less costly than the HMO plans which had been in effect.
The contract also provides a cost-of-living increase of 1 percent in 2017 and between 1 percent and 2.5 percent in 2018. Step increases are provided in both years as long as workers have received satisfactory ratings on a job performance review.
Estimated financial impact of the agreement is $39,895 in 2017 and $26,904 in 2018.
He said that other members of the negotiating team included Commissioner Hunter Taylor (R-Alton), County Administrator Debra Shackett and County Commission Chairman Dave DeVoy (R-Sanbornton).
Grey said that there the negotiating team has been able to reach agreement with all four unions in the last year and produced four signed contracts which brought an end to four years of stalemate in which no contracts had been approved.
He said that Commissioner Hunter Taylor was a skilled negotiator and pointed out that he was the one who came up with the proposal that broke the stalemate in negotiations which a mediator had not been able to resolve, and praised Shackett for her in-depth knowledge of how the county works.
Voting to approve the contract were Rep. Glen Aldrich of Gilford, Rep. Dennis Fields of Sanbornton, Rep. Tim Lang of Sanbornton, Rep. Valerie Fraser of New Hampton, Rep. David Huot of Laconia, Rep. Don Flanders of Laconia, Rep. Peter Spanos of Laconia, Rep. Mark Abear of Meredith, Rep. Herb Vadney of Meredith and Rep. Michael Maloney of Gilmanton.
Voting against the contract were Rep. Peter Varney of Alton, Rep. Michael Sylvia of Belmont, Rep. Barbara Comtois of Barnstead, Rep. Ray Howard of Alton and Rep. Norm Silber of Gilford.