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Senior services staff approved for three percent wage increases PDF Print E-mail

Council responds to employees’ grievance

By Russ Pankonin
The Imperial Republican

Employees at Imperial Manor, Parkview Assisted Living and Imperial Heights will receive 3 percent wage increases retroactive to July, 2010 following action by the city council Monday night.
Twenty-six employees of the senior services facilities signed a formal grievance that was presented to the council.
During the past two years, employees have been given 30-cent per hour bonuses instead of raises.
Employees said they were told by administration that the bonuses would end in the new budget year starting July 1, but that raises would be given.
With a change in administrators, all raises were put on hold.
Ron Ross of Rural Health Development, who manages the senior facilities for the city of Imperial, explained the facilities had been running at a deficit but that has been reversed.
Cost-saving measures and an increased patient count have helped to reverse that trend.
He noted reimbursement for Medicaid charges make a big impact on the bottom line, as well.     
City Clerk/Administrator Jo Leyland said it typically costs the city more to care for Medicaid patients than the city is reimbursed.
Ross said the cost reviews for Medicaid are always 18-24 months in arrears so it takes time for higher reimbursement levels to catch up with actual costs.
Employees pointed out that using contract nurses increases the cost of operation. They felt this could be reduced in the future.
Ross agreed and noted if they were able to reduce contracting for nurses, he suggested moving those dollars back to employees in the form of raises.
He also pledged to have the new administrator, Darin Severson, conduct employee evaluations prior to making wage recommendations for next year’s budget.
Other action
The council rescinded nuisance resolutions on five different properties that have been cleaned up. Three properties remain on the list.  
Members voted to use community development funds generated by the city sales tax to pay for the final $8,000 cost to construct bathrooms in Campbell Park.
The project was spearheaded by the Imperial Lions Club.
Approval was given for a $100,000 working capital loan to Allo Communications. The money will be loaned from the city’s revolving loan fund created originally through the state’s Community Development Block Grant loan program.
The final design for the Cornerstone Development property east of Schroeder Park received approval from the council. The council only approved the development design, which is estimated to cost about $2 million for infrastructure improvements.
The design created additional retention storage to limit runoff. The design will hold about 8 acre-feet of water, versus 5.5 acres as originally designed.
This will help reduce some of the storm runoff onto the Frenchman Valley Produce property south of the airport.
The council went into executive session at the end of Monday’s meeting to discuss a tort claim made on behalf of  Frenchman Valley Produce.
They are seeking reimbursement for damages from flooding that occurred from storm runoff from the city earlier this summer.
They are also asking the city to take actions to avoid further flooding in the future.
No action was taken after coming out of executive session.