Gig Harbor council asks for open labor negotiations

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The Gig Harbor City Council approved a resolution Monday that would require city negotiators to “insist” that labor contract bargaining must take place in a public forum “to the greatest extent feasible and allowable by law.”

Council member Jim Franich proposed to resolution June 24, saying it would increase public knowledge of negotiations with public-sector unions. It passed 4-3, with council members Michael Perrow, Spencer Abersold and Spencer Hutchins joining Franich.

The resolution would have little practical effect, however, since public negotiations would have to be agreed upon by both parties, and unions are unlikely to agree. Groans were heard from the council audience as the resolution passed.

“Bringing transparency to any aspect that effects our citizens is a good practice to follow,” Franich said on Tuesday. ”Hopefully the unions will feel the same way. If the unions do not believe in transparency then it will have little practical effect. I am hopeful that will not be the case.”

The city has collective bargaining agreements with three unions: the Employees Guild, the Supervisory Guild and the Police Guild.

In other actions, the council:

Passed an ordinance that would levy a civil penalty of $125 plus fees on owners who leave animals in their hot car. The ordinance also confers immunity of liability for property damage for an officer when rescuing a dog from a hot car. Dogs who are left in a vehicle could suffer from heat stroke and death, the council was told, as they are not capable of sweating.

Approved the final plat and final planned residential development for Division N4 of Harbor Hill. This division includes 65 single-family lots and four open-space tracts. Harbor Hill is a large development on both sides of Borgen Boulevard near Peacock Hill Avenue.

Discussed the city’s advisory board’s terms and conditions. This discussion primarily focused on the Arts Commission, discussing whether the members of this commission need to be residents of the city. Council members said they preferred city residents on the board, but would be open to someone outside the limits if no one in the city is available.