DeSouza on AFSCME Contract: 'It's Just Wrong for Norristown'

Councilwoman DeSouza attacked the contract with municipal employees saying it doesn't hold code enforcement officers to a high enough standard and grants too many vacation days and holidays.

Council voted to approve a two-year contract with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) which represents municipal clerks and code enforcement and parking officers on Tuesday by a 5-1 vote. 

The lone dissenter was Councilwoman Dr. Mary DeSouza, who voiced her opposition to the already negotiated contract, stating that it doesn't hold code enforcement officers to a high enough standard and offers pay raises and vacation and holiday time that is too generous for the municipality's current budget.

The contract is reportedly retroactive to Jan. 1, 2011 and includes 2% annual pay raises, 12 paid holidays and up to 100 days of paid sick leave time that can be accrued. DeSouza also objected to the continued grandfathering-in of code enforcement officers who have not been certified in property maintenance.

"If we don't hold our code agents to a higher standard, how do we expect to make improvements?" asked DeSouza.

DeSouza noted that county officials have reduced the number of paid vacation and holidays for their employees as a way to reduce the budget.

"There are very few private sector jobs where people are given 12 holidays," noted DeSouza. "These are things that I think we need to do to reduce the amount of money we spend on people not working for Norristown."

The current contract is set to expire Dec. 31 of this year and a new contract will need to be renegotiated soon.

Council also unanimously approved notices of intent to award the following additional contracts on Tuesday night: 

  • Contract for zoning permit software in the amount of $21,310 (plus $1,800 annual maintenance fee) with Limerick-based Carrigan GEO Services.
  • Contract for the Norris Hose HVAC Improvement Project in the amount of $41,500 with Red Hill-based B&E Boiler Works.
  • Contract for the Avenue of the Arts Streetscape Phase II in the amount of $312,485.71 with Warminster-based LC Costa Contractors.

Councilman Marlon Millner was not present at the meeting.


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