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Union contract changed, despite objection

Member: Board ‘opening can of worms’

MORRISON – The Whiteside County Board has made a small change to a union contract, but one board member objected to the move.

In a voice vote this week, the board overwhelmingly approved a small increase to the base pay for a position in the county’s Highway Department that affects two employees.

Board member Glenn Truesdell, D-Rock Falls, warned against approving the change.

“This particular motion is opening a can of worms that we may not want to open,” Truesdell said. “We have a valid contract with the Teamsters calling for wages, salaries and fringe benefits.”

He said he didn’t think it was wise to make a change for two employees in the middle of a contract. The 3-year union agreement expires in mid-2014.

“This is something we should settle through collective bargaining,” Truesdell said.

County Engineer Russ Renner, who is in charge of the Highway Department, said the county wanted to correct a gap that had become “pretty big” between base and full pay.

Renner said he instigated the change, but discussed it with Teamsters representatives.

Truesdell didn’t accept the explanation,

“I don’t think that’s a good way to run a program,” he said, voting against the move.

In an interview Thursday, County Administrator Joel Horn said the base pay had remained the same for several union contracts.

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