1/14/08

Mayor: Re-open Teamsters contract for cuts

New mayor Alfred Cooper said the financial health of Oakland City (IN) doesn't look good, and he intends to do all he can to improve it - starting with the water department.

"I have ordered a layoff of a water department employee," he said. "It was a hard decision to make, but it had to be done." Cooper said the water department has been functioning in the red since November.

They have been able to get through because of some money he said was owed to the water department by the fire department, so some transfers were made. But that is a temporary fix to what Cooper said is a rather serious problem.

The layoff in the water department is just the tip of the iceberg. Cooper said he and the council have much work to do. "I am trying to get control of the finances," he said. "Oakland City has really got to make some changes. It means we have to make some tough decisions."

Another problem area in the budget is the high cost of insurance for the city employees. Cooper said insurance costs cost the city more than $100,000, a cost the city cannot afford. But Cooper said the benefits are stipulated in a contract between the city and the Teamsters. "We are going to be working with the Teamsters to try to reduce that," Cooper said. "We are going to discuss our options and see what can be done."

(tristate-media.com)

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