Mayor vetoes salary ordinance

Bellevue borough employees will not be getting pay raises or decreases in their health insurance contributions, at least not quite yet. The ordinance setting wages and benefits for the few years, adopted by council in December, has been vetoed by Mayor George Doscher.

Doscher informed council that he was vetoing the ordinance because it calls for non-contract employees -- primarily those in administrative positions -- to contribute 7 percent of the cost of their health insurance.

The contribution rate was decreased from 2012’s 10 percent. Combined with changes to health insurance in 2013 that reduce the cost of premiums, each non-contract employee would pay $400 less this year.

Doscher, however, wants the non-contract employees to pay only 5 percent, the rate that is being paid by union employees who, following recent arbitration, now include police officers.

The mayor said that past councils had instituted contributions for non-contract employees as a way of setting a precedent for future union negotiations. Because the borough’s union members -- including public works laborers and firefighters -- pay only 5 percent, the non-contract employee contribution rate should be decreased, Doscher said.

Council now has several options. They could let the veto stand, and start again with a new salary ordinance that could change the contribution rate. Or, they could override the veto and move ahead with the 7 percent rate. Finally, council could override the veto but still introduce a new salary ordinance that changes the contribution rate. Any change in the rate, however, would require council to consider a new ordinance or amendment that would require advertisement and three separate votes, and would delay any pay raises that were to take effect Jan. 1 for several weeks, if not months.

Council is expected to address the veto at its regular meeting on Jan. 8.

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