, May 23, 2022

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Vallejo City Council to vote on displaying Ukrainian flag

  •   3 min reads
Vallejo City Council to vote on displaying Ukrainian flag
A Ukrainian flag flies outside former Bank of Italy building in downtown Vallejo. Photo: John Glidden.

VALLEJO – In an effort to show solidarity with the Ukrainian people, the Vallejo City Council is scheduled to decide on whether to allow flying the Ukrainian flag at Vallejo city hall after the city received multiple requests from the community.

City staff is recommending the flag be displayed on the flagpole in front of city hall for six months, with the council revisiting the issue in August.

Russia invaded Ukraine in February which has resulted in at least 24,000 deaths and displaced 11 million people, according to Reuters. Flying of the flag has come to signify support for the Ukrainian population.

The condemnation from the international community increased on Wednesday when Pope Francis kissed a Ukrainian flag from Bucha, a town located outside Kyiv, where residents were shot and killed in the streets by Russian soldiers.

The deaths have been met with condemnation and promises of further sanctions against Russia.

The council approved a new flag policy in early January 2021 establishing the process on how flags can be displayed on city-owned flagpoles outside city hall and at the Marina Vista Memorial Park behind city hall.

Council asked to approve new $9 million agreement with firefighters union

The council is also scheduled to approve a tentative agreement and successor memorandum of understanding between the city and the International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 1186 (IAFF) which is estimated to cost the city more than $9.3 million over the next four years.

General fund expenditures are expected to increase by $209,000 during the current fiscal year, which the city said it has already budgeted for. Fiscal years run from July 1 to June 30.

The elimination of a firefighter position next fiscal year is expected to “partially offset” the estimated increase in costs, staff wrote in a report to the council.

The pay increase will cost the city $827,000 in 2022-23 fiscal year, $1.7 million in 2023-24, $2.7 million in 2024-25 and $3.8 million in 2025-26.

If approved, union members will receive a 4% cost of living adjustment the first full pay period after the agreement is approved. That will be followed with similar 4% increases on April 12 of 2023, 2024, and 2025.

The firefighters’ previous contract expired on March 31. Their last cost of living raise was on July 1, 2021.

Council to mull $190,000 contract for consultant to help planning services department

The struggle to retain city hall staff will cost the city at least $192,400 over the next six months.

The council is expected to approve an agreement with InterWest Consultant Group for senior planning personnel for 40 hours per week starting on April 18 and lasting at least six months.

“The Planning Division is operating with only half the staffing level approved by Council. This agreement will help fill the void left by the departure of a seasoned Senior Planner and provide the necessary support to review the complex planning projects being processed in the Planning Division,” wrote Christina Ratcliffe, the city’s interim planning and development services director, in a staff report to the council.

Ratcliffe said six months should allow the city’s human resources department time to recruit and fill the vacant senior planner position.

The city has the ability to extend the agreement in intervals of 30, 60, 90, or 120 days, by written notice to the consultant, for up to 1 year.

In the past few years, Vallejo has had difficulty retaining staff throughout the various city departments.

Stressful working conditions and low pay were cited as the main reason nearly 60 employees left the city during the second and third quarters of 2021, according to exit interview data released by the city. That was in addition to more than 20 employees who left the city during the first quarter of 2021.

Those revelations came a month after the council approved over $7 million in cost of living increases for city employees over the next three years. The council ratified tentative agreements with two labor organizations –  the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 1245 (IBEW) and Confidential, Administrative, Managerial, and Professional Association (CAMP) – while also adjusting the pay scale for the city’s executive members.

The Vallejo City Council is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m., Tuesday inside the Vallejo City Hall Council Chambers,  555 Santa Clara St.

Members of the public will be able to participate in-person or remotely via Zoom.

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