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After an executive session Monday evening, the Albany City Council approved giving management permission to implement the last offer made to members of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union Local 2909 during a Dec. 7, 2018 mediation session.

“It has yet to be decided if or when that implementation will take place,” said city spokeswoman Marilyn Smith. “Staff could decide to not do it or to wait until after another mediation session that will be held Jan. 30.”

She said the union could decide to accept the offer, or call a strike.

“There will be more discussions among staff this week to decide when and how this might be implemented,” Smith said.

The city has been negotiating with two units of AFSCME since April. On Nov. 9, the city declared it had reached an impasse with AFSCME Local 2909, which represents 177 employees. (The other AFSCME unit is Local 2909-1. It represents seven bus drivers, transit dispatch and transit maintenance. That unit has not declared impasse.)

The city and Local 2909 are down to two main issues — cost of living increases and standby pay — and whether the new contract will last for three years, which the union has requested, or four, which the city prefers.

In other business, the council:

• Welcomed new Ward II council member Alex Johnson II, who succeeds councilor Ray Kopczynski. Johnson, 53, has lived in Albany since 1994. He is a Navy veteran, owns an insurance agency and also referees youth sports.

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• Talked about the need to keep all notes written on council members’ agenda packets based on the Oregon Public Records laws. That includes notes taken on council member’s iPads. City staff will makes copies of each page of notes and keep them on file for five years.

• Received a draft of the city’s proposed Strategic Plan for 2019 to 2023. The document outlines the city’s long-term values and strategic themes with goals and measurements, such as “great neighborhoods,” “safe city,” “healthy economy,” and “effective government.” The document is still in the review phase.

• Discussed outside agencies that receive money from the city budget through grants and transient lodging taxes. They include the Albany Downtown Association, Albany Visitors Association, Albany-Millersburg Economic Development Corp. and Monteith House.

• Talked about reducing the number of city boards and commissions. The discussion included consideration of reducing the number of appointments made by the mayor, instead opening up the appointments to all council members. Councilor Rich Kellum said while he appreciates volunteers who step up to serve, quite often those volunteers share a common opinion and don’t represent diverse thought. Other council members said they would like to talk further about spreading out the appointments.

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Contact Linn County reporter Alex Paul at 541-812-6114.

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