The Cheney City Council in its regular meeting Tuesday agreed to hire Kevin Wesley of the Wesley Group to help negotiate contracts for the police and fire departments as well as dispatch employees.
City administrator Arlene Fisher said the city has $20,000 budgeted for this, but doesn’t expect the city to spend more than $5,000.
Councilmember Mike McKeehan wondered why the city needed a negotiator for the labor contracts.
“It seems to me our relationships have been pretty good,” McKeehan said.
Fisher said that in the coming year, personnel director Diane Showalter is expected to retire; Fisher and Showalter still plan on maintaining a collaborative effort during contract negotiations, but they mean to step back from the process.
“It’s never really been fair to have the HR director do the negotiations,” Showalter said, adding that in her position she not only has to listen and help employees during the course of the year, but also has to negotiate contracts in the best interest of the city.
Fisher said she checked references to make sure they were getting the right person.
The Wesley Group is based in the Tri-Cities.
The council passed the resolution, with McKeehan in opposition.
The council also approved a resolution to enter into a memorandum of understanding between the Cheney Police Department and the Washington State Patrol to use its SECTOR software for electronic ticketing.
Councilmember Curt Huff asked police Chief Jeff Sale if there was any cost to the city to use this software; Sale assured him there wasn’t.
The next council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. May 26 in City Hall, 609 Second Street.
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