MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Following three years of litigation between the city of Morgantown and first responders, Mayor Jenny Selin is hopeful the city administration is close to resolving the issues.
Selin acknowledged during a Thursday appearance on WAJR’s “Talk of the Town” that new personnel rules that made their debut this month are creating morale problems among members of the police and fire departments.
Some of the changes include no more shift differential, overtime changes and reductions in sick time. Some members of the police and fire departments have said the effect of the new rules does not improve morale or safety of the public. Some rank and file members believes pay reductions will lead to good officers and firefighters leaving the city in the interest of their futures and families.
“No one is pretending that everything is going along perfectly,” Selin said. “But, I think it’s working itself out and I think every council member has done something on this at some point.”
The last time Morgantown personnel rules were amended was in the 1970s. Many changes in the workplace and workforce have occurred since then and Selin said the rules need to be addressed.
“When you’re in the business of having employees you have to use current standard language, current standard methods of payment, retirement and it has to be written down,” Selin said.
Since the rules went into effect July 1, regular meetings have been held between city manager Kim Haws and first responders, according to Selin. Selin said she is not familiar with details of the negotiations, but explained she wants the most qualified first responders to serve residents.
“I’m a policymaker, so I am not on the front line of these negotiations,” Selin said. “But, I’m concerned, watching and we get briefed. I’m very pleased with how people have been talking back and forth and working through the issues.”
Selin said no one is ducking the issues.
“It’s just when something is ongoing it’s not the moment to announce anything in particular until it’s worked its way through.”