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    Public Comment Portion of Today's Council Session On Negotiating Contract With Non-Public Safety City Employees Will Begin at 5:30 p.m., Not 6:00 p.m. Previously Indicated; Public Comment Will Be In Council Chamber

    (Jan. 5, 2006, updated text) -- The public comment period of a City Council session today on instructing city management on how to proceed on negotiating a contract with non-public safety city employees will begin at 5:30 p.m. and not 6:00 p.m. as previously indicated.

    Before Councilmembers go into closed session on the item -- to hear from city management's negotiator and instruct management on how to proceed -- the public has a right to be heard. That will take place at 5:30 p.m., not 6:00 p.m. [At its Jan. 3 meeting, the Council initially indicated a 6:00 p.m. start time but later said 5:30 p.m.; missed this and mangled the factoid in our Jan. 4 editorial. We regret the error.]

    [update] Although a written notice specifies the location for the meeting as city management's 13th flood conference room, has been told that the public comment portion of the meeting is expected to be held in the main Council chamber (in anticipation of members of the public showing up to be heard.)

    The contract pertains to non-public safety city employees to whom the City Council authorized significant pension increases in a mid-2002 vote (9-0 without Mayoral objection).

    At the Jan. 3, 2006 City Council meeting, city employees and their union rep used the public comment period to complain that city management hadn't concluded an agreement with them, including raises, by year's end despite agreements with raises for police officers and firefighters, and a raise for the City Manager and City Clerk. Some city employees described the situation as an "impasse" while city management replied that it felt it needed Council direction on how to proceed.

    Councilwoman Laura Richardson expressed displeasure that city management hadn't yet wrapped up an agreement with the city employees and urged her Council colleagues to convene today's (Jan. 5) special meeting on the matter and Councilmembers agreed.

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