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LA-MSID approves collective bargaining agreement

August 29, 2018
By MELISSA BILL ( , Lehigh Acres Citizen

The Lehigh Acres Municipal Services Improvement District approved a collective bargaining agreement with Teamsters Local 79 during its regular monthly meeting held on Aug. 20. This allowed the district to finalize contract agreements with the local union.

Bargaining agreement discussions primarily revolve around job descriptions and suggested amendments to duties; qualifications; education, certifications, licenses and registrations; and other items such as salaries.

According to Dis-trict Manager David Lindsay, this particular agreement included a few job description changes plus employees received a 2.87 percent COLA and a 1 percent merit increase.

While board members decided to unanimously approve the agreement with the union, Commissioner Mike Welch asked that in the future the district hold an executive session prior to finalizing these types of contracts.

"During the executive session we can all get the chance to put our two cents in collectively. There are a few points in the contract that I feel we could have tightened up," Welch said.

Welch also pointed out to the importance of the district having a set of norms in place as it moves towards the leadership role set forth by legislators.

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Chair David Deetscreek asked Lindsay for an approximate time-frame from the start and ending of future negotiations with union members, so that the board could plan an executive session to go over all contracts prior to execution.

"Once we know a time frame, then we can set a policy on these procedures for the future," said Welch.

Under action agenda items was the approval of the Able Canal pathway alignment with the county and FDOT.

According to District Manager David Lindsay, the county has looked at several alignment options for the pathway.

"We feel that the north side will allow for a lot more right-of-way, so our recommendations are to keep the pathway on the north side. It's safer for pedestrians," said Lindsay.

Board members agreed to unanimously approve the action agenda item.

The Lehigh Acres Architectural Zoning Review Board also made a presentation during this month's meeting. Board Vice Chair Tami Baker asked to bring back discussions on how they could come under the umbrella of LA-MSID in the future.

"We are looking to give our recommendations more validity and offer a better voice for the residents on matters concerning zoning here in Lehigh Acres," said Baker.

Commissioner Welch suggested that the zoning board hold a meeting with its district manager to discuss the logistics and how the relationship between the two entities would work. They could then bring it back before the board for ratification.

Board Vice Chair Mike Bonacolta seconded approval to look into the matter further.

"I think it's a good idea and something that we should definitely look into more seriously," said Bonacolta.

Commissioners also discussed the districts legislative requests, which would be presented during the next legislative session by their legal counsel, Persson and Cohen. This would authorize the law firm to draft language for a "cleanup bill" that includes priority items to be introduced during the upcoming session.

The Lehigh Acres Municipal Services Improvement District will hold its next meeting Oct. 22, at 5:30 p.m., at the LA-MSID, at 601 East County Lane.



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