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Indian Hills trustees, union agree on health care plan, raises

by Jeff Munson, Staff Writer

After eight months of negotiations, management and employees of the Indian Hills General Improvement District have tentatively agreed to health care coverage and merit-based raise adjustments.

IHGID employees agreed to form a union last year to address health care and pay raise issues, which were sources of contention among some of the district’s 14 employees and the board of trustees.

The agreement, which was heard Tuesday night at a special meeting, was expected to be ratified.

“It was a big issue for us. What we end up will be a compromise,” said IHGID board Chairman Steve Weaver.

Jerry Frederick, labor negotiator for Locals 39 of the Stationary Engineers in Reno, declined to comment until the outcome of the agreement is certain.

The health care issue came about after some employees asked the board to include dependent coverage with their health insurance. For years, IHGID employees could sign up for individual health care plans that would serve employees only.

Under the compromise, employees will be able to sign up one dependent and IHGID will pay the cost associated with adding a second person to the health care plan. Weaver said the difference is $192 on top of the $308 the district pays for each employee.

Employees who wish to add other people to the health plan will have to do it at their own expense, Weaver said.

“This agreement is similar to Douglas County,” Weaver said.

Another component of the agreement is a guaranteed 2.8 percent cost of living adjustment for this year. The COLA is based on a nationwide survey, he added.

Also, the tentative agreement includes a provision on merit-based raises.

Both sides agreed on a plan that gives its employees pay raises based on a three-tiered merit scale.

Employees who “meet standards” required in their job would receive a 2 percent pay increase. Employees whose performance is “above standards” or exceeds satisfactory performance with the district would receive a 4 percent raise. If an employee is ranked in their performance review as producing “exceptional standards” they can earn up to a 6 percent raise.

“What this does is give more to employees who are giving out the extra effort,” Weaver said. “I think it’s appropriate to give someone a bigger raise if they are exceeding expectations than someone who is doing a satisfactory job.”

n Staff writer Jeff Munson can be reached at munson@swiftnews.com