Port Authority non-union raises rescinded after a day
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Port Authority interim CEO Ellen McLean has rescinded 2.25 percent pay raises given to non-union employees by former CEO Steve Bland, who was fired Friday.
The move, announed today, comes after County Executive Rich Fitzgerald criticized the raises and pledged to investigate whether he could rescind them.
Mr. Bland was fired "without cause" by the authority board Friday in a 5-3 vote in a move engineered by Mr. Fitzgerald, who had been publicly critical of Mr. Bland.
After the firing, it was made public that Mr. Bland had authorized raises for the 200 to 250 non-union employees at the Port Authority effective Feb. 1, which marked the end of a 30-month period of wage freezes for the employees.
The employees include those from the finance, engineering, procurement and service planning departments as well as non-union staff at garages.
Mr. Bland has not been available for comment since his termination.
But in an internal e-mail provided by Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie, Mr. Bland explained that the non-union employees had made the same sacrifice as members of Local 85 of the Amalgamated Transit Union, who accepted a 30-month pay freeze to be followed by a 2.25 percent increase on July 1, 2014.
Mr. Fitzgerald said he was caught by surprise by the raises and questioned the timing of them, coming on Mr. Bland's last day in office.
"For the director, this CEO, to do this on his way out of the door, I just don't think it's proper," Mr. Fitzgerald said. "The timing of this couldn't be worse. We are going to the state for funding. We are trying to show that we can hold the line."
Mr. Fitzgerald said he believed that Mr. Bland "kind of worked this out on his own and didn't let us know."
Mr. Ritchie said the idea of providing raises came up in November, when the board asked Mr. Bland to give non-union employees across-the-board raises commensurate with those in the union contracts. He said a memo announcing the raises was given to the Port Authority board on Jan. 25.
In a prepared statement today, Ms. McLean said: We will review all recent actions and will rescind pay increases for non-represented employees until our board of directors has had an opportunity to review them."
First Published February 2, 2013 3:03 pm