A Better Contract: Fair For Fieldman, Fair for DG

Win-win.  And one miss.

Updated: lots of people want to know the salary and perks, so it’s stuck on the end.  My interest was more in correcting badly written parts of the last contract, and that appears mostly to have happened.

When looking over the contract for former Village Manager Pavlicek three lacking items stuck out like a sore thumb: lack of a time frame, lack of required performance reviews, and lack of a Prehire Arbitration Agreement.

The one miss in this new contract: there’s still no Prehire Arbitration Agreement. Arbitration of discharge, as predicated by a PAA, can conclude inside of a year, and since time consuming discovery and motion practice is not generally permitted, it ends up being less expensive than a court trial. A PAA is protection for the village against, say, a lengthy lawsuit that runs up the legal bills for everyone involved.

On the plus side, there’s a definite length to the contract. On the plus side, there’s a definite 2 1/2 year length to the contract, and that can mitigate the need for a PAA (hat tip for the heads up on that to Mayor Ron, he’s right):

Additionally, Annual Performance Reviews will be part of the terms of the contract.  As part of an employees personnel file, I’m pretty sure PR’s are not part of the public record, but this is important, as it creates a paper trail of job performance that future councils with a different consist can rely on, if needed.

Any pay raises are tied to the Annual Performance Evaluation, market factors, and whatever else council decides.  This is a  major improvement over the last contract.  Under the old contract council could grant a raise anytime they decided to. Under the new contract, once a year the process can be visited, and there is considerably more latitude given council, there is no longer a contract specifying a direct linkage to automatic minimum increases based on average total non-union village pay increases.

So the Village has written a much better contract this time out.

Public salaries are subjest to public exposure:

In addition to the usual comprehensive health insurance benefits (always a perk of public employment, don’t single out Fieldman if you feel it’s too much) and sick leave, Fieldman gets a vehicle allowance (also pretty standard):

The only questionable item in the contract, and this may be simply that I don’t understand it, is the ability to award bonuses at the discretion of the employer:

Is it a potential loophole to the annual performance review/pay review process established earlier in the same section?  Maybe.  I don’t see council throwing money around frivolously, as the next couple budgets will be tight fitting expenses into revenues.

And this is pretty weird:

That could be taken to mean the Village Attorney is also an employer.  She’s not.  Instead of “And also:” it should have read “And it’s legal representative:”, with a different indent or something along those lines to clearly delineate that the Village Attorney is not “also” an employer of the Village Manager.

I’ve had first hand experience highlighting and correcting legal wording gaffes in the past.  Most recently the language appointing VA Petrarca as Ethics Officer was screwed up in a self contradicting manner that Commissioner Tully was good enough to bring up to the dais, point out, and change.

Still, a much better contract than the last one.  You can read the whole Village Manager Contract here.

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10 Responses to “A Better Contract: Fair For Fieldman, Fair for DG”

  1. John Schofield Says:

    I assume the salary and other compensation is a matter of public record…

  2. markthoman Says:

    Yes. That’s part of the contract.

  3. Martin Tully Says:

    Keep in mind that employment contracts are not bridges. Like any arms’-length agreement, they are the result of negotiations, give and take.

    Also, I wouldn’t call the absence of a mandatory arbitration provision a “miss” or a “failing.” Arbitration is not all that it is cracked-up to be and doesn’t necessarily save any time or money. Plus, when you strip away the rules and disclosures afforded litigants in the civil court system, you can end up with a risky, unpredictable Wild West shoot-out. But don’t take my word for it, as numerous legal journal articles have criticized the passing fad of automatically sticking an arbitration clause in every agreement under the sun. Finally, arbitration proceedings are typically conducted in private, which is not something I would expect a champion of transparency to be a fan of.

    Finally, plumbers should hesitate to attempt crime scene investigations; They weren’t there and don’t have the right tools to assess the situation.

  4. markthoman Says:

    Interesting. Looked and looked, never called anything here a “failing”. I’m posting how a contract is much better than it’s previous iteration. Do you agree or disagree? You never do get around to saying.

    In the very next paragraph I had originally said “On the plus side there’s a definite length to the contract.” I expanded on that after passing some notes in class with Sandack. He has more direct information on the real life efficacy of PAA’s, and of arbitration.

    I appreciate you adding your take on PAA’s, and for recognizing I do champion transparency.

  5. Red Fred Says:

    You left out the bye-bye pay. Last VM is siung for her full year, this time it’s based on time on the job, and is shorter by a wide margin.

    Way better for us taxpayers.

  6. Martin Tully Says:

    Mark:

    You need only look at your post over at DGreport.com, which is quoted below:

    “Thoman // Oct 8, 2008 at 10:22 pm

    Village Clerk April Holden emailed me the contract. It’s an improvement over Pavlicek’s, and covers two of the three failing’s of that contract.”

    Sorry to have mixed blogs in my post here, but both characterizations were in the same vein.

    To answer your question, yes, it will come as little surprise that I agree with your assessment that the current contract is fair to both parties. Given the pending litigation regarding the other referenced agreement, I will politely decline to draw any comparisons at this time.

  7. Martin Tully Says:

    BTW, I do appreciate the shout-out regarding the Ethics Officer ordinance change, which you deserve credit for catching. But it should also underscore that if you or others care to contact me or any of my colleagues in advance of posts, we can often answer or elaborate on the questions at hand. We’re all easily reachable, as you know, and always glad to do so. For those interested, my direct contact info is as follows:

    Martin Tully
    cell: 630-707-8315
    email: mtully@downers.us

  8. Senior Grover Says:

    Thank you Mr. Tully and Mr. Thoman, for your continued efforts to reach out and help. Many seniors have found a willing ear with both of you. Now obviously Mr. Tully can do things as councilman that Mr. Thoman cannot, but I believe both have shown you care, and both believe in getting information out to the taxpayers. Mr. Thoman I find it disturbing that you have detractors that seem to follow your every comment over at Ms.Johnson’s DG Report.

  9. markthoman Says:

    I thank you for your comments and urge you to not give a thought to any detractors because that is what they are; detractors that add little to a discussion.

  10. x01703 Says:

    Actually, I do add to the discussion over at EJ’s. And when I do, I am not self promoting in the process.


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