Union negotiations with Stacy city liquor staff continue

By Anne Thom—

The city of Stacy continues to negotiate a union contract with liquor operations staff.

“Just to let everyone know, Chuck (Lucia) and I attended two meetings of union negotiations. Things are progressing,” Mayor Mark Utecht said at the last council meeting. A third meeting was scheduled for this week.

Councilor Jim Ness said he was frustrated with the process. He understood that the full council would be meeting to hear what is going on in the negotiations. Ness said he has no idea what the original contract proposal was and he has no idea what changes have been brought forward.

City Attorney Peter Grundhoefer said the council could go into a closed session. However, he qualified that some of the discussion should be subject to open meeting. Grundhoefer then recommended a closed, special meeting.

The mayor apologized and said he didn’t recall it the way Ness did. He understood that he and Councilor Chuck Lucia would be involved and then report to the council when there was something to report.

Councilor Cindy Bruss said she remembered the discussion as Ness did.

The mayor said his intention is not to have the council frustrated with lack of information. “I thought the council wanted us to deal with the details of the negotiation and then report back when a contract is ready to be signed,” Utecht said. He asked Ness, Bruss and Councilor Michael Carlson if he should suspend the negotiations until the council can be brought up to speed.

Mayor Utecht offered that negotiator Frank Madden may be available for a conference call. He thought suspending the process would be counterproductive.

“Our employees are very anxious to get this done,” Utecht said. He offered to make the contracts available for his colleagues to inspect. They could then provide input. Grundhoefer said this would be an open process, not a closed one.

”Without Mr. Madden’s reading of some of these (contracts), it’s as bad as water ordinances,” Utecht said.

The meeting was to be held yesterday.

Radium levels under review

City Engineer Chuck Schwartz received notice from the MN Dept. of Health regarding the Wellhead Protection Plan and the requirement of a public hearing. “It’s a suggestion,” Schwartz said. This is part of the radium resolution.

The city is ready to set up a radium removal workshop. Stacy met the May 4 deadline date to get the treatment project onto a list for financing.

Schwartz suggests now is the time to hold the workshop and asked for an hour of the council’s time. City Maintenance Supervisor Jon Ehlert received his class C water licensure which means he will be able to operate a water treatment plant, should it be built.

The workshop is scheduled for Tues., May 29 at 7 p.m. Schwartz wants to complete the pre-application to Rural Water Development by that date.

Mayor Utecht asked that representatives from Rural Water Development be invited to attend this session.

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