Commissioners reach agreement with sheriff’s union

A three-year contract agreement with sergeants in the corrections division at the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office was acknowledged by the county commissioners Tuesday, following a brief executive session to receive details.

The contract, retroactive to March 8 to replace an agreement which expired March 7, provides a 2 percent annual increase for the five members of the International Union of Police Associations, AFL-CIO Local 76. Commissioners Brian Robertson and Tim Bechtol approved the contract. Commissioner Mark Gazarek was absent.

While the commissioners accept the agreement, the actual contract is with the sheriff.

The agreement also changes the rules for earning extra weeks of vacation. An employee will receive three weeks of vacation after seven years of service, instead of the previous eight years. Vacation will increase to four weeks after 14 years of service, instead of the previous 15 years, and five weeks after 20 years, instead of the previous 25 years.

The corrections division also includes 34 officers and negotiations with those personnel have yet to be done, said Capt. Roger Treece.

In April, a tentative agreement was reached with the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association which would provide similar raise amounts and vacation earned to union personnel in the sheriff’s enforcement unit.

The enforcement division includes 27 deputies, five sergeants and 10 dispatchers.

But following the tentative agreement, union members voted down the contract and negotiations started again, Sheriff Mike Heldman has said.

Treece said eventually the enforcement units each approved the tentative contract, which leaves 34 corrections officers still to negotiate.

Separately, the commissioners approved a more than $2 million contract with R.G. Zachrich Construction Inc., Defiance, for replacement of the Osborn Avenue bridge near Riverside Park and over the Blanchard River. Federal highway funds will pay about $1.9 million and the county will pay the remainder. The county’s share will be paid with motor vehicle tax and gasoline tax funds. Work is scheduled to be done by Oct. 12, according to the contract.

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