Obetz and FOP reach agreement; plus other Obetz news


By Katelyn Sattler
Staff Writer

The city of Obetz and the Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge No. 9 came to an agreement on the initial contract they have been negotiating for over a year.

The agreement was also approved in a vote by the Obetz Police officers.

The agreement includes a wage increase for the police officers and step raises of 3 percent for each of the years 2023, 2024, and 2025, as well as increases in holiday, sick, vacation, and personal leave days.

The parties also agreed to a 36 hour work week with four hours of paid physical and mental wellness time for the officers, acknowledging that policing is mentally and physically demanding.

The FOP is not opposed to a fitness testing program, based on the Cooper Standard, with physical fitness standard for five exercises based on age and weight.

The FOP did oppose discipline, up to and including termination, for a failure to pass the test. Eleven FOP labor contracts in Franklin County have fitness testing for members, but none provide for potential termination for failing to pass the testing.

Obetz City Administrator Rod Davisson wanted officers held to a high standard. The first physical fitness test will be in June 2024. For new employees, if an officer fails, they will have 90 days of exercising at the Obetz Athletic Center with Obetz’s trainer. If they fail again, the cycle will repeat. If an officer fails for the third time, Davisson wanted to fire the officer.

Since the FOP did not agree, The City of Obetz and the FOP had to go before Fact-finder Margaret Nancy Johnson, appointed by the State Employment Relations Board on April 4.
Johnson recommended that, “Should a member who becomes an employee of Obetz on or after Jan. 1, 2023, fail to achieve the minimum required test score for the final attempt, the employee may be subject to discipline as set forth in Article 8, Discipline. Propriety of such discipline may be grieved pursuant to the Grievance Procedures provided in Article 6 of this collective bargaining agreement.”

Pay raises for elected officials
At the June 26 Obetz City Council meeting, council approved pay raises for the city’s elected officials.

The city charter allows pay raises for elected officials to no more than 8 percent of the current salary.

“The last raise was probably a decade or so ago,” Davisson said.

According to Davisson, the elected officials have lost some of heir ability to qualify for the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System because they do not make enough to hit the threshold.

The raises will apply to newly elected officials that are just beginning their term, or re-elected officials continuing their terms.

Currently, the Obetz mayor makes $21,600 annually, which will increase by $1,728 to $23,328. Obetz City Council members earn $6,480 annually, which will increase by $518 to $6,998.

Lancaster Park redesign
Davisson said a redesign of Lancaster Park will provide more offerings for the residents.

The redesign includes a splash pad on Lancaster Avenue with the shelter next to it. Further south, there will be a table game area for table tennis, Foosball and Connect 4. Alongside that will be a play lawn for Cornhole, lawn games, and movies. Next to that will be five pickleball courts with a seating area to the east. Bike racks will separate the park from the parking lot.

The redesign will be done in two phases – the first will be the games area and the second will be the larger, more expansive streetscape. The curbs will be reworked and Lancaster Avenue will be repaved to Possum Holler. The fence will be replaced with fencing similar to what will go in at Buckstone. There will be a multi-use path from Buckstone to Three Creeks Metro Park.

Phase 1 will cost approximately $1 million and Phase 2 will cost approximately $2 million. The poles for the underground utilities will cost approximately $50,000 each.

Police vehicles
Council approved $10,000 to repair the current police vehicles.

Davisson said, “I can’t guarantee that this will be it for the year.”

The new Dodge Durangos will be arriving soon.

Police Chief Mike Confer said that the price of the new Durangos is $42,000 each, and then $20,000 of equipment will be added to them.

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