BRISTOL BOROUGH >> Three part-time borough employees will be laid off March 27 after the borough and its employee union were unable to reach an agreement to keep them on the payroll.
The borough will lose a part-time code enforcement officer, an office clerk and a streets employee. The borough, however, will be able to keep its part-time animal control officer and part-time parking enforcement officer after the union determined that those positions are not part of the bargaining unit.
United Auto Workers Local 1612, the union that represents a number of full-time borough employees, had threatened to file an unfair labor complaint against the borough unless it made the part-time employees full-time.
The union cited language in its May 2019 contract that makes “no provision for permanent part-time employment” and only the potential for temporary and seasonal assistance.
Unable to afford making the employees full-time, the borough council made the decision in February to lay off the part-time workers. In the meantime, the union determined that the animal control and parking enforcement officers were not part of the bargaining unit.
“That’s great news because that means we saved two jobs, so therefore JoAnn Driscoll and Bill Palmer can continue their jobs with no concerns of layoff,” said Council President Ralph DiGuiseppe at council's March 9 meeting. “The sad part is that the other three employees, it’s sad to say, will go home on March 27. We have advised the manager to draft a letter to let them know they are eligible to collect.”
In other action, Council voted unanimously to apply for more than $1 million in grant funding for a number of projects throughout town.
If successful, the funds would pay for 28 curb ramp upgrades on Walnut, Mulberry and Wood streets at a cost of $204,400; resurfacing of the Spurline Trail between Dorrance and Monroe at a cost of $90,000; sidewalk improvements to close gaps on Green Street, Beaver Street, Farragut Avenue and Pine Alley at a cost of $100,000; Mulberry Street resurfacing, $95,000; Mill and Radcliffe pedestrian improvements, $265,000; and Elm Street redevelopment, including demolition of 11 borough-owned properties, $250,000.
In other action, council voted unanimously to award a $92,040 bid to G&B Construction, Inc. to install curb ramps throughout the borough. The project is being funded through the federal Community Development Block Grant program.
In other action, council approved a motion restricting parking to 30 minutes at 206 Otter Street. The restriction would be in place from 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Harris Fuels had requested the parking restriction to provide a space out front for its customers to use when dropping off bills or conducting quick business transactions.
Councilman Tony Devine voted against the motion, arguing that the borough would be opening itself up to “a bunch of headaches” and predicting that other businesses throughout the borough are going to want the same consideration. “It’s not going to be fair to everybody,” he said, accusing the council leadership of doing a favor for a friend.
Councilman Lou Quattrocchi argued, “This is not restricted to Harris. This is not the first time we’ve done this in town. On Garden Street, we created a special parking zone in your ward,” he told Devine, defending the decision.
In other business, council approved a motion to allow parking on both sides of Pond Street between Mill Street and the Mill Street Municipal parking lot. The parking would be limited to two hours.
In other action, Council approved a motion to install a stop sign at West Railroad Avenue at Old Route 13 and a stop sign on West Railroad Avenue at Otter Street.
Another motion by Councilman Devine to implement term limits failed when it was brought to the floor for a vote.
His motion, second by Councilman Dave Girard, called for limiting council members to three consecutive terms in office. In addition, his motion called for a four year term limit for any one person to hold the office of president or vice president.
Prior to the vote, borough solicitor William Salerno noted that the state already addresses the issue in the borough code and that council would not have the authority to change it at the local level.